Highway may re-open Saturday

road closed

UPDATE: The Ministry of Transportation says Highway 17 is now open to traffic in both directions, as of 11:19 am Saturday morning.

“Please note that Highway 17 has a short section of gravel roadway overtop of the newly placed culvert. Please take caution and follow the additional signing. Permanent paving will happen in the next few weeks.

“The ministry will continue monitoring this area on a daily basis.”

The highway’s status has also been updated to “cleared – all lanes have re-opened” on the 511OntarioEastern Twitter feed (@511ONEastern).

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Closed since the early hours Monday, Highway 17 may re-open to traffic Saturday morning.

The Ministry of Transportation says that remedial work on the highway, closed to traffic because of a partial washout between McIsaac Drive and Tower Trail at Bissett Creek, was expected to be completed Friday afternoon.

“However, with the heavy rain, MTO will be monitoring water levels overnight. Should the water drop as expected, Highway 17 will reopen Saturday morning.”

MTO says another update on the highway’s status will be provided Saturday morning.

In previous updates, MTO said the highway was closed after “massive damage to the shoulder and embankment on both sides of the highway” was observed.

“At this point the damage caused by the back up of water was as a result of a blocked culvert. This culvert is currently sitting under 9 metres of water which is preventing us from completing an assessment of the culvert.”

On Wednesday, contractors working for the ministry began installing a “temporary culvert to help lower the water level and stabilize the embankment. The water needs to be drained slowly to ensure no impacts to the environment downstream and to prevent further highway washouts.”

Ground Penetrating Radar was used to investigate the extent of the damage and to detect any “potential voids.”

While the highway has been closed, westbound traffic has been detoured through Algonquin Park via Highway 60 and north on Highway 11 to North Bay.

Travellers are advised to check the website at 511on.ca for current information.