Ministry of Transportation, Niagara Region and City of Thorold reach agreement to keep the Thorold Tunnel open to two-way traffic

On Monday, Nov. 25, representatives from the Ministry of Transportation, Niagara Region and City of Thorold met to discuss potential solutions regarding the challenges of snow clearing in the Thorold Tunnel during the construction. All parties are pleased to announce that a mutually agreed upon solution has been reached to keep the tunnel open to two-way traffic this winter.

Monday’s discussion centered on the need to ensure safety for motorists as everyone’s top priority, while respecting the serious inconvenience that a detour would cause if the tunnel were only available to one-way traffic. The main challenge to overcome was the existing barrier that separates the west and eastbound traffic that would not allow a standard snowplow to operate in the tunnel.   

To this end, the Ministry of Transportation, Niagara Region and City of Thorold agreed to the following solution to keep the tunnel operational to two-way traffic:

  1. The MTO will maintain the current traffic configuration by using smaller two-ton snowplows that can fit in the tunnel. The equipment, resources and personnel required to operate these plows will be provided at the ministry’s expense.

  2. Given the smaller size of these plows and their limited ability to keep up with very heavy snow fall, the periodic full closure of the tunnel may be required to keep motorists safe

  3. The MTO, Niagara Region, and Cities of Thorold, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines all agreed they would work together to effectively communicate with Niagara’s residents in the event of a full closure

  4. The MTO will implement highly visible signage in the event of a full closure and clearly mark the appropriate detour route
The MTO provided Regional and City representatives a series of five options for discussion. The solution to use smaller trucks, with periodic full closures during heavy blizzard conditions, was the only option that both maintained safety for motorists and left the tunnel open to two-way traffic.
 
Niagara Region and the City of Thorold wish to thank the MTO for partnering with their municipal partners to arrive at a solution that is mutually agreed upon by all parties.

Quotes

"I want to thank the motorists of Niagara for their patience while we worked to find a beneficial solution for this key transportation artery. Our municipal and regional partners know the needs of their communities best, and as Minister of Transportation, I am committed to working collaboratively with them on issues of importance."
~ Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation
"I want to thank the Ministry of Transportation for their prompt attention to this issue and taking our legitimate concerns seriously. The Thorold Tunnel is a key transportation artery in the Region and the solution we all agreed upon keeps this conduit open while maintaining safety on the roadways. I am pleased to see all of the partners working closely together to come to a mutually agreeable resolution to this challenging situation."
~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair
"I am pleased with the outcome of Monday’s meeting which ensures we can keep the Thorold Tunnel open to two-way traffic this winter. I have personally heard from hundreds of residents and businesses as to the importance of the Thorold Tunnel and I want to assure everyone that we took your concerns directly to the ministry. I applaud the MTO for working with us to find a solution that both keeps everyone safe and continues to allow for two-way traffic through the Thorold Tunnel."
~ Terry Ugulini, Mayor, City of Thorold

Contact

Daryl Barnhart, APR
Niagara Region
289-969-3441
daryl.barnhart@niagararegion.ca


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