2+1 highway

Ontario is getting North America's first 2+1 highway and here's what that means

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation continues to live on the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to designing highways, as evidenced by a new request for proposals (RFP) for what officials are calling a "2+1 highway pilot" on the province's second-longest thoroughfare.

"The Ontario government is taking another step forward to make roads safer and improve traffic flow in Northern Ontario. Today, the province issued a request for proposals for a 2+1 highway pilot on Highway 11 north of North Bay," announced the ministry late last week.

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

In other words, it's a highway with a centre lane that goes both ways, depending on where you're at. While confusing and kind of scary-sounding on paper, this model has actually proven successful in countries such as Germany, Russia, the U.K. and Portugal.

We first heard rumblings of a 2+1 highway pilot in Ontario last December, at which point the province had asked for public feedback.

The issuance of an RFP for potential vendors is a major step forward for the project, for which two potential locations are in the running: a 14-kilometre stretch of Highway 11 from Sand Dam Road to Ellesmere Road, and another 16-kilometre run between Highway 64 and Jumping Caribou Lake Road.

"While both sites will be assessed, the design and environmental assessment for Highway 11 from Sand Dam Road to Ellesmere Road will be prioritized," says the province.

Highway design professionals can submit their proposals for design and environmental assessment work to the Ministry of Transportation until December 2022.

This ministry is expected to announce the successful bidder sometime in 2023 and, from there, get to stepping with building the thing to better connect Northern Ontario.

'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, in a release from the province.

"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."

Lead photo by

A Great Capture

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