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MTO refuses request for a solution to blocked exit

VANKLEEK HILL, Ont. - Trying to talk common sense into Ontario's Ministry of Transportation was a waste of breath for Herb Vink, owner of Herb's Restaurant on Hwy. 417's Exit 27, halfway between Ottaw...


VANKLEEK HILL, Ont. – Trying to talk common sense into Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation was a waste of breath for Herb Vink, owner of Herb’s Restaurant on Hwy. 417’s Exit 27, halfway between Ottawa and Montreal.

Now he can only sit, steam and lose money until September, while his exit is blocked off to truck traffic during this construction.

“The crossover (end of construction) is two km from our exit. They could have opened the exit two weeks after construction began,” complains Vink.

“I didn’t get anything that I wanted.

“In business when you have a problem, you fix it. With the government they keep tossing and tossing the problems,” he adds.

Thanks to public servants who have engineered the virtual shutdown of his business, truckers who want to fuel up and shower at Vink’s newly-renovated truck stop, and anyone else on the 417 with business there, must endure a 16-km detour. Even worse, emergency services on standby at Herb’s have lost quick access to the 417. Since reporting on Herb’s new services for truckers in the June issue of Truck News, there have been several major accidents at the crossover at the start of the construction area, says Vink.

“There was a head on collision at one end … (where the eastbound traffic is routed onto one of the westbound lanes) between a tractor trailer and a car, with three fatalities,” he says.

All Vink can say now is that maybe construction will end by Labour Day weekend, or maybe Sept. 13.

The stop owner warns the strategy running him into the ground may soon hit others around the province, too.

“This is a test trial in what they consider the (end) of the province,” fumes Vink.

“There is no other construction project in the whole province that cuts off a major service … We are a guinea pig.”


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