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Northern Ontario communities join forces to improve Highway 17B


June 17, 2021
By Rock to Road Staff

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Highway 17B will undergo road construction starting this summer. Courtesy of the Ontario Government (Ontario.ca).

As the Government of Ontario looks to increase its efforts to improve highway safety for those living in the northern parts of the province, Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation, as well as Chief Andy Rickard of Garden River First Nation, have announced a contract has been awarded to KSMM 2020, to work on Highway 17B through the province’s Aboriginal Procurement Program.

The project’s scope of work will include 20 kilometers of paving on Highway 17B, as well as intersection improvements at Syrette Lake Road. Additionally, fully paved shoulders will be added for cyclists and pedestrians, as well as a curb, right and left turn lanes, and new lighting. Culvert, gutter and guiderail work will also be done, further improving the safety and visibility on the road. This work will improve safety and visibility on the road.

Looking to create job opportunities for the locals and specifically, the Indigenous community, the KSMM 2020 is a partnership between Garden River Frist Nation, Schwe Miikaan Corporation, and Miller Paving Limited. “Ontario is working with Indigenous communities to improve transportation in Northern Ontario,” said Mulroney. “Highway 17B travels through parts of Garden River First Nation, which makes this a win for all involved by supporting local jobs while improving and maintaining this important highway.”

To further ensure the benefit of the Indigenous community in the area, the contract requires that one-third of the contract value must be done by Indigenous businesses or members.

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“This project has been a dream for our community for quite some time and to be involved in the planning from start to finish is what we define as meaningful relationships with the Ontario government,” said Chief  Rickard, Garden River First Nation. “We look forward to this amazing opportunity to build a pool of skilled members, enhance our capacity, ensure economic benefits, and add more safety measures within our community.”

Construction is expected to begin in summer 2021 and be completed in fall 2022.