From: Jennifer Hanson, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
NORTH BAY — While the expansion of Highway 69 is currently in question, an Ontario Conservative Party representative confirmed Thursday that construction on Highway 1 was set to begin.
“Highway 1 is the most ambitious highway in Ontario’s history,” says PC spokesman Rod Cook. “The four-lane will connect directly with (Highway) 400 and move up past Highways 11 and 55 – effectively linking Toronto with Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, North Bay, Parry Sound, Huntsville, Orillia and Barrie.”
With the highway completed, Cook estimates that a trip from Thunder Bay to Toronto could take “as little as 8 hours,” and a trip from Sudbury to Toronto “less than 3.”
“Highway 1 will tie together Northern Ontario and Southern Ontario,” says Cook. “It will receive full road maintenance from the MTO, with a further $200 million budgeted each year for repairs.”
“Additionally – and we’re very proud of this – Highway 1 will be the first Highway in Ontario to be free from all speed limits.”
The highway, which has a provincially approved budget of $3.8 billion, will take just under two years to construct. Once completed, Highway 1 will have no posted speed limits so that motorists can travel as fast or as slow as they like, though Cook suspects most will choose to move faster given their new freedom.
“It will be our equivalent of the Autobahn. Fast, safe, clean, and efficient. A modern Ontario marvel.”
“And, perhaps best of all, Highway 1 will be entirely private.”
Indeed, immediately after its completion in 2020, Highway 1 will be open only to salaried PC Party members.
“Highway 1 is a private PC Highway aimed at getting our members to and from Toronto as quickly as possible. For many Conservative representatives, Highway 1 will be their only exposure to Northern Ontario, and we think that is for the better.”
“There will be some complaints from the Liberals and NDPs about the expense, I’m sure. But we’ve done extensive studies, and ignoring the road maintenance and repair, Highway 1 will save Ontario residents almost $400 000 over the next 14 years as we reduce first class flights to Northern Ontario for our MPPs.”
Additionally, Cook says the highway will strengthen relations with other provinces.
“When other Conservative premiers visit, we can take them on a quick tour to show off our beautiful province. Maybe an hour trip up to Huntsville to get some ice cream, or even a little further to North Bay to see what they’re up to. Not any farther though – we don’t want to scare them with Northerners.”
Construction on the highway begins in early September, and will continue until July 2020.
“We’ve had a few people ask when it will be open to the public. The answer is never. All provincial funding is being matched by private donations, so even if the PC Party loses an election, we’ll still own Highway 1.”
“But, my friends, that’s not something we need to worry about now. Let’s revel in the progress we’re making. Long live the PC Party! Long live Ford Nation!”