TORONTO, ON — Ontarians have had a tough winter, with heavy snows, bone-chilling temperatures and now, fines.
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has fined all of Ontario’s 21 area maintenance contractors clearing provincial highways for not meeting maintenance standards, according to media reports.
“As Minister of Transportation, I take my responsibility for the safety of Ontario’s highways very seriously,” says Minister of Transportation Glen Murray. “Challenging weather is no excuse when the safety of the people traveling on Ontario’s roads and highways is at stake.”
Murray encourages any Ontarians with concerns about work being done on the province’s roads to email his office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gordan Rennie, regional issues and media advisor with the MTO, northeast region, told the Manitoulin Expositor that in Northeastern Ontario, MTO has five maintenance areas, looked after by four contractors:
• DBi Services for Sudbury
• Transfield Services for North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie
• Carillion Canada for Huntsville
• Integrated Maintenance and Operations Services (IMOS) for New Liskeard-Cochrane
While the MTO cannot make the amount of the fines publicly available, examples of fines for non-conformance, are:
• $5,000 per vehicle and a subsequent $1,000 for each additional 30 minute delay when a contractor fails to begin plowing once snow reaches two centimeters;
• $5,000 per vehicle penalty and a subsequent $1,000 for each additional 15 minute delay when a contractor fails to begin spreading salt within 30 minutes of falling snow
That being said, Atikokan mayor Dennis Brown told the CBC some of the fines have been in the six-figure range.
There are five road classes in Ontario and frequency of plowing differs.
• Class 1 highways, such as Highway 401, Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 11 and four-lane sections, have up to of eight hours until they have to be plowed to bare pavement and must be plowed every 1.6 hours afterward;
• Class 2 (two-lane highways such as Highway 17 Trans-Canada) has eight hours to bare pavement and must be plowed every 2.2 hours afterward;
• Class 3 (two-lane highways such as Highway 35) has 24 hours to bare pavement and must be plowed every 3.3 hours afterward;
• Class 4 (two-lane highways such as Highway 516) has 24 hours to bare pavement and must be plowed every 5.5 hours afterward;
• Class 5 (such as Highway 542) must have the road restored to snow-packed within 24 hours and must be plowed or salted at least every 10 hours afterward.
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