Province to extend 417 past Renfrew

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Driving to Ottawa will be faster and safer in the coming years as the province of Ontario has promised to expand Highway 17 to four lanes just west of Renfrew.

Local MPP John Yakabuski made the announcement in Renfrew Thursday on behalf of Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney.

“Our government is getting Ontario moving by investing in key transportation projects,” said Yakabuski.

“Widening Highway 17 will make travelling easier and provide relief to the people of Renfrew County.

“We promised to prioritize this project, which is so important to the people of Renfrew County and all of Ontario. Promise made. Promise kept.”

The project will widen 22.5 km of Highway 17 from Scheel Drive to three kilometres west of Bruce Street in Renfrew County. The project will also include four new interchanges.

Widening the highway will reduce congestion and improve quality of life for workers, families and businesses in Ontario, the province said in the announcement.

“We need to make Ontario’s transportation system work for everyone who relies on it to get to their school, to their jobs, and home to their loved ones,” said Mulroney.

“We are committed to the safety of families and communities in Renfrew County and throughout eastern Ontario, and that’s why we’re making smart investments here and across the province.”

Renfrew County officials welcomed the announcement, noting the 10-year project will begin construction in the next two to three years.

“I want to thank Minister Mulroney and the provincial cabinet for their decision to move this project forward,” said Renfrew County Warden Jennifer Murphy.

“This announcement will promote growth in the region that supports economic development, tourism and improves this key transportation link to large employers in the county.”

Murphy said she also wanted to take a moment to specifically thank MPP John Yakabuski, county councillor and former Warden Peter Emon, and chair of the operations committee, McNab Braeside Mayor Tom Peckett, “for their tireless efforts to keep bringing this issue to the forefront with the province, and creating dialogue with stakeholders.”

“Their dedication to this project without a doubt has contributed greatly to the realization of today’s announcement.”

Peckett noted that during last year’s election campaign, Premier Doug Ford “along with our MPP John Yakabuski promised residents that, if elected, they would begin the process to extend the four lanes ASAP.”

“They have kept that promise today.”

The county noted that in 2017, the previous government of Premier Kathleen Wynne had approved the detailed design phase of the expansion through to Renfrew, but did not proceed to add it to the province’s five-year infrastructure plan.