(Picture: John Baird, Ron Henderson & Rick Bartolucci)
By Angela Gemmill
A new section of four-laned Highway 69 will open up next week, South of Sudbury, between Estaire and the Highway 637 turnoff to Killarney.
Many lives have been lost in collisions on this roadway, especially at the infamous S-Curve.
Straightening that section was a top priority for the federal and provincial governments, which both chipped in roughly half the cost for this section.
M-P John Baird, now the Minister of Foreign Affairs, was the Minister of Transportation when the project started and says the feds invested in this infrastructure due to the improvements to safety the finished project will bring.
The project cost $68,200,000; the Canadian government paid for 51% while the Ontario government paid for 49%.
Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Sudbury M-P-P, Rick Bartolucci, has been a huge advocate for the entire project.
2017 is the target goal to have the entire stretch of Highway 69 completely four-laned between Sudbury and Toronto.
Bartolucci says there are only 80 kilometres left and each of the remaining projects are in varying stages of completion.
Twenty-one contracts have been awarded on work to improve Highway 69.
The new 13-kilometres portion of four-laned Highway 69 will open Wednesday (Aug 8), delayed by four months from its original deadline.
There are still a few final touches on the new section which include adding signage, and completing pavement and highway shoulders.
The opening date is one day after the ten year anniversary of a deadly collision which claimed Kelly Henderson and her twin 12-year old boys Corbin and Jordin.
Her brother, Ron Henderson, calls the opening of the stretch bittersweet news.
He says four-laning a highway won’t bring his loved ones back, but says it’s gratifying to know it’s a safer highway for others to travel.