January 11th, 2016

Nipigon bridge fiasco should be wake up call for north – Angus

TIMMINS — As a result of the Nipigon bridge failure, Canadians who want to cross their own country were being forced to detour through the United States. Although efforts are being made to stabilize the situation, MP Charlie Angus says the bridge failure is a perfect symbol of the growing infrastructure crisis in the north.

“How does the Prime Minister explain to other G7 countries that all passenger and truck freight traffic in Canada has to travel on one single road through Northern Ontario?” asked Angus. “If the federal government is looking to make investments we need to make sure that they aren’t just expanding suburban roads and transit. Northern roads must be part of the equation.”

Angus is calling on provincial and federal officials to make sure that people who have been cut off because of the bridge failure are given full support. He says the federal transportation minister must look at investments in the highway corridors through northern Ontario.

“The fact that a single bridge problem could cut this country in two makes our nation look like a bad South Park episode where Canada is ridiculed as a nation with just one road” said Angus. “But northerners know there is nothing to laugh about with the ongoing cuts to train, airplane and bus routes. Our winter roads have become increasingly dangerous as a result of privatized maintenance.”

“Perhaps Ottawa and Toronto think that the north isn’t on the map, but the wakeup call here is that these underfunded roads are the main transportation corridor connecting the country,” concluded Angus. “This isn’t the first time that the Trans-Canada Highway has been shut down by a northern bridge failure. In 2003 the highway at Latchford was closed as a result of a bridge failure resulting in lengthy delays.”