February 2, 2011 by USA Post 

MTO, The Department of Transportation is studying the idea of four-laning Highway 17 between North Bay and Bonfield. A study that examines the 26 km of the highway should take about three years. Kelly Baker, UNWTO, said the study is part of a strategy to improve Highway 17 between Sault Ste. Marie to Ottawa. “Through the study, the ministry will develop and evaluate a range of reasonable alternatives, including improvements to the road, the paths of new road and / or a combination of both,” said Baker.

Trucks to travel throughout Eastern Canada in Northern Ontario and Western Canada as well as local travelers use the road. McCormick Rankin Corporation has been selected by UNWTO and consult with residents, the public, First Nations, municipalities and homeowners, according to the project website, No date has been set, but the first meeting is scheduled for this spring.

Gordan Rennie, UNWTO, said landowners in the affected area would be asked for permission to carry out technical investigations and environmental impact on their property. He said that the study is in its infancy and does not know how many homeowners could be affected by the expansion.

The information on wildlife is also collected to help identify areas that may have a key role in the migratory habits of animals. The owners and members of the public are encouraged to report sightings and wildlife crossing Highway 17. There is a section on the site designated for such reports. The Rockport Development Group is proposing a new parking area for Rockport.

Brian Phillips Group Rockport Development explained that the proposed parking lot north track was advanced a year ago, but now the price has not been included in the budget. “Things have changed a lot since then, including the hiring of the new CAD (Malcolm Morris), so we are now back on this proposal,” Phillips said during a recent meeting of Leeds and the council Thousand Islands Township. The area in question is on the road north of the Thousand Islands Parkway between Marine Howard and the Rockport Recreation Hall.

Phillips said that parking is absolutely necessary because the Rockport area is crowded with boat trailers and additional traffic every summer. Rockport is a ramp, but no place to park the boat trailer, “he said. A lot will also provide parking for the funeral.

The proposal also allows open space for pedestrians, a place where people can gather for special events. The batch will no longer set the current road and use it for parking, which eliminates the sharp corner that currently exists, “said Phillips.

Eric Siegwart, who lives on Escott-Rockport Road, said the road is very bad for cars and even worse for pedestrians. “It is very dangerous along there and something must be done.” No snow removal would be necessary because it would only be used in summer and no additional lighting is necessary because the poles are already in place.

“Cars come in front of Rockport and S-turn in their parking spaces to unload the boats and when they try to save, that’s where the problem is thus eliminating the reverse. The one-way system movement throughout the parking area is safety and improve traffic flow, “he said. The proposal also includes moving the sign kiosk business directory located next to the recreation room to a more visible location on the promenade.

“It will be a unique place to gather a lot more people in the area for walking tours, cycling and marathon. It is used for some of these purposes now, but it is a very poor place, and this plan will improve very dramatically, “said Phillips. Comments by Jim Greer Galloway Group Inc. was given an estimate of 105,000 and for the project, not including the cost of putting in a marked crosswalk in the Parkway.

Phillips said the St. Lawrence Parks Commission agreed in principle to the proposal, pending final design and the Department of Transportation (MTO) approval. He said the concept has also met the approval of the representatives of the Rockport Recreation Hall, St. Brendan’s Catholic Church and the Rockport Boat Line.

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