Originally Posted by Rathgrith
Its going to take a LONG time before all of Highway 17 is twinned in Ontario. Some parts of the highway in Northern Ontario have more bears/deer/moose using it than cars.
There isn't enough traffic volumes to warrant it. I drove from Winnipeg to Kenora this weekend, and even then, as soon as you're past the exit for Steinbach, the traffic on the TCH drops off substantially. As much as I'd love to see it as a way to promote more unity in our country (quicker to get places), I don't see it happening. Maybe we should be looking at improvements to our cross-country passenger rail instead.
I saw an interesting solution when I was in South Africa for long-distance national corridors with low traffic volumes. The highway maintains three lanes, with the middle lane alternating every 2 kms as a passing lane for each direction. This would require much less right-of-way, and as you approach larger urban areas, the road could widen to either a four-lane divided expressway, or a full freeway.
Some parts of the TCH need to be divided (and possibly with full grade-separated access) their entire way. I'd say from Calgary to Kamloops the traffic exists. Not to mention it makes trips through the Kicking Horse Canyon and Rogers' Pass a lot safer.
This would all require federal investment though. In that sense, the US did a good thing investing in its Interstate highways. It's not a great model in urban areas, but for inter-city travel, it makes places a lot closer. Our challenge will be to design these roads to complement the smaller towns that the highway passes.