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Ontario to build North America’s first 2+1 highway

By Adam Freill   

Construction Infrastructure Roads

Province turning to innovative design in effort to support safe communities, create jobs and promote economic growth in Northern Ontario.

The Ontario government is taking an innovative step to improve traffic flow in Northern Ontario. The province has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a 2+1 highway pilot on Highway 11 north of North Bay.

A 2+1 highway is a three-lane highway with a centre passing lane that changes direction approximately every two to five kilometres. The province reports that the highway model is used in other jurisdictions around the world and says the structure is more cost efficient than twinning a highway.

“This first of its kind highway pilot in North America will keep people and goods moving safely across Northern Ontario,” said Caroline Mulroney, minister of transportation. “This is a key next step to get shovels in the ground on critical infrastructure projects that will support a strong transportation network and create jobs.”

Qualified highway design consultants can submit proposals for design and environmental assessment work through the Ministry of Transportation’s e-tendering portal until December, with the province expected to evaluate submissions and announce the successful bidder in 2023.


“The 2+1 highway project is an important part of our government’s plan to build Ontario,” said Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, and MPP for Nipissing. “This pilot project will help address the unique transportation needs of people and businesses in Northern Ontario that rely on our roads and highways to get where they need to go.”

Two potential locations for the highway pilot have been identified. While both sites will be assessed, the design and environmental assessment for Highway 11 from Sand Dam Road to Ellesmere Road (14 kilometres) will be prioritized.




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