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Author Topic: Ontario's Highways  (Read 410997 times)

Alps

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #775 on: September 06, 2016, 07:12:00 PM »

Also, I was disappointed with the current setup coming from Durham RR 3. I didn't see signage saying to continue straight onto Columbus Rd E and then make a left onto Harmony Rd to reach the 407. Also, the short stretch of Columbus Rd isn't the best for handling the extra traffic, though thankfully it will only be temporary.

Agreed.  Neither Columbus or Harmony north of the 407 aren't awesome as connector roads.  There was quite a backup on Columbus Road approaching the four-way stop at Harmony yesterday afternoon.

They haven't posted any trailblazer signs for either the 412 or the 407 yet.  (There actually still aren't reassurance signs along the 412 yet either).  I'm curious to see what the end up looking like, given the uniqueness of the colour of the 407's route shield.
A lot of white signs for the 407 extension and the 412 are completely blank except for the shield. I assume those are for toll information?

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #776 on: September 06, 2016, 08:16:47 PM »

^ The contractor who built that section of highway through the 412 interchange installed 407 ETR style route markers.  They were removed a few days before the highway was opened to traffic.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #777 on: September 06, 2016, 11:38:14 PM »

^ The contractor who built that section of highway through the 412 interchange installed 407 ETR style route markers.  They were removed a few days before the highway was opened to traffic.

Are you sure this is the same thing Alps is talking about? I noticed these large white signs on the 407 EB which were almost all blank except for the ON 407 shield (I wish I got a photo, but I was driving WB). I thought the 407 ETR markers were a different problem.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #778 on: September 07, 2016, 07:03:56 AM »

No, I did misunderstand.

Those large white signs detailed the rolling information for the tollways, about large vehicles requiring a visible transponder and about the requirement for rear licence plates to be visible.  They say effectively the same thing as the white signs do before entering the ETR section.  They were blanked shortly before the highway was opened to traffic.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #779 on: September 07, 2016, 05:22:19 PM »

An article on snow fencing/vegetation for the 402:

http://www.theobserver.ca/2016/08/30/ontario-transportation-minister-steven-del-duca-expected-to-visit-lambton-later-this-fall-ministry-spokesperson-says

Quote
Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca expected to visit Lambton later this fall, ministry spokesperson says

Lambton-Kent-Middlesex MPP Monte McNaughton is calling on Ontario's Ministry of Transportation to consider installing snow fencing along wind-swept sections of Highway 402.

In a letter sent to Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca last week, McNaughton suggested more coniferous trees be planted along the highway to create a natural snow barrier in the long term, but in the meantime, snow fencing could be erected temporarily near the highway's fence line.

“I just thought it was a sensible thing to advocate for at this time of year,” he said Tuesday. “This is giving the Ministry of Transportation ample opportunity to do what I think is very much a common sense approach, and that it is to construct snow fencing along areas of the 402 between London and Sarnia to stop the tragedies we've been seeing over the last number of years.”

Lambton County politicians have been calling for improvements to a stretch of Highway 402 – from Forest Road west to Mandaumin Road – following a series of deadly winter pileups over the last few years.

Some of those crashes have been attributed to white-out driving conditions.

Over the last few months, the Ontario government has been beefing up its winter highway maintenance efforts in response to an eyebrow-raising auditor-general's report released last year.

That report found Ontario drivers were put at a greater risk on provincial highways between 2009 and 2014 following the launch of a new cost-cutting highway winter maintenance program.

Under that program, private-sector contractors took more time to clear major highways after storms, patrolled roads less often and used fewer pieces of equipment, according to the report.

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation released an action plan last summer to improve winter maintenance along provincial highways, as well as better update drivers on current road conditions.

In February, ministry officials expanded the Track My Plow website to cover provincial highways in Sarnia-Lambton, Chatham-Kent, Windsor-Essex and part of Elgin County.

Drivers are now able to go online to track the locations of GPS-equipped snowplows during the winter months before they decide whether to head out on provincial highways.

In an email Tuesday, ministry spokesperson Emmilia Kuisma said 2,600 new and replacement trees have also been planted along the Highway 402 corridor this year.

Plantings have been focused on areas prone to drifting snow and where there are gaps in existing wind breaks, she added. Some of those locations include between Mandaumin and Forest roads, and Forest and Centre roads.

While the ministry has considered temporary snow fencing along the highway, Kuisma said the project would require fencing to be installed at an appropriate setback with the permission of a “willing landowner.”

“MTO has found vegetation to be more effective than fencing to reduce the effects of drifting snow, hence the focus on tree planting along the 402 corridor,” she wrote in an email.

In addition to tree plantings, Kuisma said new winter hazard signs have been installed along the highway. The province has also expanded its anti-icing liquid incentive program, meaning contractors will be increasing the use of the liquid as a preventive measure before winter storms.

When asked about Del Duca's promised visit to the area – one he pledged a few months back – Kuisma said Del Duca will be visiting later this fall.

“I think they're listening,” said Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper, who has met several times with ministry staff on the issue.

He recently met again with ministry officials at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference this month about the stretch of Highway 402 that runs through his municipality.

“They came up and showed us what they're doing,” Napper said, noting he was shown a chart of all the highway tree-planting projects.

Ministry officials also promptly followed up with a complaint about weeds along the highway, he said, and last winter followed through on pre-treating the roads more aggressively before storms.

“As far as the road goes, they're pre-wetting it, and we seem to have a good dialogue with them.”
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Alps

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #780 on: September 07, 2016, 07:03:04 PM »

No, I did misunderstand.

Those large white signs detailed the rolling information for the tollways, about large vehicles requiring a visible transponder and about the requirement for rear licence plates to be visible.  They say effectively the same thing as the white signs do before entering the ETR section.  They were blanked shortly before the highway was opened to traffic.
So I would have had to be paying attention to the signs before the free section. :-D

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #781 on: September 08, 2016, 10:55:04 PM »

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/trans-canada-highway/ontario-raising-fee-for-vehicle-sticker-renewal-for-sixth-year/article31536444/

Quote
Ontario raising vehicle sticker renewal fee, has almost doubled since 2011

For the sixth year in a row, the Ontario government is raising the fee for renewing vehicle validation stickers.

As of Sept. 1, renewal stickers in southern Ontario will cost $120 for the year, up from $108 currently. In northern Ontario, the fee rises to $60 from $54.

While a $12 increase may not seem hefty, the renewal price has almost doubled since 2011.

Sept. 1, 2011 - $74
Sept. 1, 2012 - $82
Sept. 1, 2013 - $90
Sept. 1, 2014 - $98
Sept. 1, 2015 - $108
Sept. 1, 2016 - $120
Defending the increase, the government says roads and bridges require more funds for maintenance.

“Gradual fee increases for driver and vehicle services are critical to help maintain the safe highway infrastructure that people and businesses rely on,” says Bob Nichols, Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) spokesperson, while noting that Ontario's roads are among the safest in North America. “These investments keep Ontario highways and bridges in good repair, reduce congestion, improve safety and promote the economy.”

The money from sticker renewal fees goes into general revenues, which support all government investment, including transportation infrastructure.

“Many fees, including those for driver and vehicle licences, do not allow the government to fully recover the cost of delivering services or products,” says Nichols. “These increases will help the government recover more of these costs.”

Ontario has been increasing highway infrastructure spending since 2003. The province spent $1.03-billion in 2003/2004, $1.46-billion in 2006/2007, and $2.7-billion for 2016/2017.

From 1997 until 2012 the sticker renewal fees were constant at $74 for southern Ontario, $37 for northern Ontario.

Nichols says the cost to provide driver and vehicle services in 2015/2016 was about $2-billion, and the fee increases over the years will help recover these costs.

Ontario has about 11.7 million vehicles registered, of which 7.9 million weigh less than 4,500 kilograms. This means the increase will generate more than $140-million.

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia have public insurance and the annual fee is included in an insurance fee.

Nova Scotia rates are the same as last year at $143.30 for a two-year renewal on a vehicle that weighs less than 1,000 kilograms. The price for a vehicle weighing between 1,000 and 1,500 kilograms is $176.90. For reference a Honda Civic weighs about 1,200 kilograms. In P.E.I., rates also didn’t jump staying at $100 for the annual registration fee. In New Brunswick, the fee went up $4 to $61 for a vehicle weighing less than 1,000 kilograms. The price goes up every 200 kilograms. The price jumped in Alberta to $84.85 from $75.

The Ontario government says the fees will remain fixed until September of 2018. Premier Kathleen Wynne has confirmed that the next election will be held in the spring of 2018.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #782 on: September 11, 2016, 12:33:17 PM »

Along the 401 near the 412 I noticed they put on the VMS "Sign Testing in Progress", and along that section I noticed some strange signs... (including the blank white signs)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2016, 12:38:41 PM by andrepoiy »
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #783 on: September 11, 2016, 12:41:19 PM »

Along the 401 near the 412 I noticed they put on the VMS "Sign Testing in Progress", and along that section I noticed some strange signs... (including the blank white signs)

I saw this on the new 407 extension as well. I'm guessing they have to do this for new VMS's before putting them to good use?

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #784 on: September 14, 2016, 06:17:12 AM »

Maybe I am going to ask a question which was discussed zillion times by now... Please don't kick me too hard!
But do I get it right that there is pretty much a single 2-lane road which links east and west Canada? I am referring to 17 near Thunder Bay. Looks like I90/I94 in US is the best bypass if goind, say from Winnipeg or points west to Toronto. How does that work overall? Are there any plans or reasons to change that?..
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #785 on: September 14, 2016, 09:14:03 AM »

Maybe I am going to ask a question which was discussed zillion times by now... Please don't kick me too hard!
But do I get it right that there is pretty much a single 2-lane road which links east and west Canada? I am referring to 17 near Thunder Bay. Looks like I90/I94 in US is the best bypass if goind, say from Winnipeg or points west to Toronto. How does that work overall? Are there any plans or reasons to change that?..

Basically there are two places in NW Ontario where there is only a 2-lane highway providing east-west connection. Those are Hwy 11/17 northeast of Thunder Bay as you mentioned, and Hwy 17 east of the Ontario-Manitoba border.

Work is underway to twin 11/17 between Thunder Bay and Nipigon to provide some redundancy, and twinning easterly from Manitoba has not yet begun but is scheduled for completion in 2020.

The reason why there isn't a more substantial road comes down to the simple fact that it's the middle of nowhere and there's next to no traffic on those roads.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #786 on: September 14, 2016, 09:28:01 AM »

The reason why there isn't a more substantial road comes down to the simple fact that it's the middle of nowhere and there's next to no traffic on those roads.
What is the reason for low traffic? Is there not enough trade going on between QC/ON and MB/AB etc? Or things go by rail/air? Through US? Or I totally miss something?
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #787 on: September 14, 2016, 09:36:57 AM »

The reason why there isn't a more substantial road comes down to the simple fact that it's the middle of nowhere and there's next to no traffic on those roads.
What is the reason for low traffic? Is there not enough trade going on between QC/ON and MB/AB etc? Or things go by rail/air? Through US? Or I totally miss something?

Basically, the distances are vast and the population is low. Aside from just in time delivery, it is usually more economical to ship by rail or lake freighter. Most of the traffic on 11 and 17 is intraprovincial, travelling to or between the few population centres that do exist.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #788 on: September 15, 2016, 10:39:08 AM »

The reason why there isn't a more substantial road comes down to the simple fact that it's the middle of nowhere and there's next to no traffic on those roads.
What is the reason for low traffic? Is there not enough trade going on between QC/ON and MB/AB etc? Or things go by rail/air? Through US? Or I totally miss something?

Basically, the distances are vast and the population is low. Aside from just in time delivery, it is usually more economical to ship by rail or lake freighter. Most of the traffic on 11 and 17 is intraprovincial, travelling to or between the few population centres that do exist.

Looks like  lake freight is the big part I was missing, thank you! Given non-existent Erie canal activity in NY, I was a bit surprised to see upgrade plans for locks on the lakes...
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #789 on: September 15, 2016, 05:05:53 PM »

The Erie Canal is too small for ships, and I think the "plans" for enlarging the Seaway locks are decades old and rather vague. 

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #790 on: September 15, 2016, 09:39:28 PM »

Given that there's a long distance between really big cities in Western Ontario, I'm really not surprised that the major highway is only a two lane road.

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #791 on: September 26, 2016, 10:26:58 PM »

Ladies and Gentlemen (though I'm sure there's very few ladies reading this), I have my only update for an Ontario road project probably for awhile (at least a year if not more):

In early September, I took a trip through Northwestern Ontario from the Manitoba border to just east of Nipigon (for obvious reasons). Thus, I have recorded some amateur footage of the 11/17 twinning projects as well as the Nipigon River Bridge, which we joked would fall down when we crossed it. Thankfully, it didn't  :-D

From Eldorado Beach Rd to ON 587 (the new alignment of ON 587 is not shown, but is complete):

From west of ON 628 to just west of Nipigon (I wasn't even aware of this project, so I whipped out the closest thing that could record, which was my phone. Terrible quality, but you can see what's going on):

The Nipigon River Bridge and eastern approach (the western approach is completely paved and done, but isn't used yet due to the fact the second span isn't done yet):


I was really lucky and glad to get out this summer and get these. The Regina Bypass in Saskatchewan is the only other major project within 10 hours of my house, and I know it's probably about 2 days to get up to Nipigon for you guys in southern Ontario.

If anyone's wondering, I used Da Vinci Resolve 12.5 (much better than Moviemaker and it's free too). Also, if you guys have any tips on improvements, please let me know. I doubt I will be recording much in the future, but getting some feedback is always welcome.

Finally, you may post this on other forums if you like.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 10:39:21 PM by SignGeek101 »
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #792 on: September 27, 2016, 07:40:59 PM »

They have really moved on the stretch of Hwy 11/17 east of Nelson Road.  I was last out there in 2014, and at that time, no work had yet commenced on work on that section of roadway.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #793 on: September 28, 2016, 12:03:11 AM »

They have really moved on the stretch of Hwy 11/17 east of Nelson Road.  I was last out there in 2014, and at that time, no work had yet commenced on work on that section of roadway.

Yeah, and we were already on the new alignment (the old road is visible in the video). I'm not sure if they're planning on using part of the old highway, or constructing a new one, but it looks they're on time to hopefully finish by the end of next year if they keep moving at a good pace.

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #794 on: September 28, 2016, 07:30:05 AM »

^ Looked to me like they are just updating the old road.  From my observations, the MTO tends to use the opportunity to replace culverts and what not on the old road when they twin a highway.  Off the top of my head too, I believe the new road is being built to a 120km/h design speed, while the old road probably was only built to 110.  From the looks of things, the MTO may be making the necessary adjustments to the old road to upgrade it's design speed as well.

I am somewhat surprised that they aren't more advanced on the third tower for the southern half of the new Nipigon River bridge.  I'd have figured that would have been more advanced by now.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #795 on: September 28, 2016, 10:27:12 AM »

I was actually on Hwy. 17 between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, including the sections being twinned, probably just a few days before SignGeek101.  I noticed that in most cases the new carriageway was being placed directly on top of crushed rock embankments, with no apparent attempt to provide soil cover up to the back edges of the shoulders, and I wondered if that had to do with the severe winters.

There is also special signing connected to Terry Fox that I wish I had stopped to photograph.  There is a major Lake Superior overlook dedicated to him just east of Thunder Bay that includes restrooms and a tourist information center, but there is also a sign for Mile 3,339 which I have looked for in StreetView without success since I don't have an exact latitude and longitude.  Most of the Terry Fox signs use a symbol showing a runner from the front, emerging out of a circle, which makes it less than obvious that one of the legs is artificial.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #796 on: September 28, 2016, 03:12:25 PM »

The reason why there isn't a more substantial road comes down to the simple fact that it's the middle of nowhere and there's next to no traffic on those roads.
What is the reason for low traffic? Is there not enough trade going on between QC/ON and MB/AB etc? Or things go by rail/air? Through US? Or I totally miss something?

Basically, the distances are vast and the population is low. Aside from just in time delivery, it is usually more economical to ship by rail or lake freighter. Most of the traffic on 11 and 17 is intraprovincial, travelling to or between the few population centres that do exist.

Looks like  lake freight is the big part I was missing, thank you! Given non-existent Erie canal activity in NY, I was a bit surprised to see upgrade plans for locks on the lakes...

There's a lot of shipping between cities on the Lakes.  Chicago and Detroit, for example, are destinations for iron ore mined in the Mesabi and Marquette Ranges, with the former shipped out of Duluth.  Then we do get salties that come in/go out the Seaway.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #797 on: September 28, 2016, 04:17:45 PM »

The reason why there isn't a more substantial road comes down to the simple fact that it's the middle of nowhere and there's next to no traffic on those roads.
What is the reason for low traffic? Is there not enough trade going on between QC/ON and MB/AB etc? Or things go by rail/air? Through US? Or I totally miss something?

Basically, the distances are vast and the population is low. Aside from just in time delivery, it is usually more economical to ship by rail or lake freighter. Most of the traffic on 11 and 17 is intraprovincial, travelling to or between the few population centres that do exist.

Looks like  lake freight is the big part I was missing, thank you! Given non-existent Erie canal activity in NY, I was a bit surprised to see upgrade plans for locks on the lakes...

There's a lot of shipping between cities on the Lakes.  Chicago and Detroit, for example, are destinations for iron ore mined in the Mesabi and Marquette Ranges, with the former shipped out of Duluth.  Then we do get salties that come in/go out the Seaway.

That and the Erie Canal became irrelevant with the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway. Lake freight traffic is quite substantial.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #798 on: September 28, 2016, 09:49:28 PM »

I was actually on Hwy. 17 between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, including the sections being twinned, probably just a few days before SignGeek101.  I noticed that in most cases the new carriageway was being placed directly on top of crushed rock embankments, with no apparent attempt to provide soil cover up to the back edges of the shoulders, and I wondered if that had to do with the severe winters.

I think this generally has to do with the geological conditions of much of northern Ontario.  Along the northshore of both Lake Superior and Lake Huron, there is shallow bedrock, and very little clay on the topsoil that does exist.  Many sections of both Hwy 11 and Hwy 69 are also built on blast rock.

While it does work for highway construction, the lack of a soil cover can pose problems when transport trucks run off the road and spill either their liquid cargo, or fuel.  Because of the porous nature of the blast rock, recovery of the spilled fluid can pose problems.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #799 on: September 28, 2016, 10:49:49 PM »

I am somewhat surprised that they aren't more advanced on the third tower for the southern half of the new Nipigon River bridge.  I'd have figured that would have been more advanced by now.

I'm guessing it has something to do with the failure last winter. Perhaps they were delayed quite a bit while the whole structure was checked by engineers (and maybe construction halted). Hopefully they still get done before the end of next year.

 


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