Province to issue RFP for North America’s first-ever 2+1 highway pilot

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is adopting a European-inspired solution to reduce highway deaths and road closures on a stretch of Highway 11 north of North Bay.

Queen’s Park announced last week that a request for proposals (RFP) will be issued for a 2+1 pilot project.

A 2+1 highway is a three-lane highway with a centre passing lane that changes direction approximately every two to five kilometres – the first highway pilot of its kind in North America, the government said in a news release. The highway model is used in other jurisdictions around the world and is more cost efficient than twinning a highway.

“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. “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.”

Qualified highway design consultants can submit proposals for design and environmental assessment work through the Ministry of Transportation’s e-tendering portal until December 2022. The province will evaluate submissions and announce the successful bidder in 2023.

“This pilot project will help address the unique transportation needs of people and businesses in Northern Ontario that rely on our roads and highways to get where they need to go. Together, we’re strengthening the economy and growing the North,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli.

The province has identified the top two locations for the proposed 2+1 highway pilot:

  • Highway 11 from Sand Dam Road to Ellesmere Road (14 kilometres)
  • Highway 11 from Highway 64 to Jumping Caribou Lake Road (16 kilometres)

Both sites will be assessed, the design and environmental assessment for Highway 11 from Sand Dam Road to Ellesmere Road (14 kilometres) will be prioritized.

The proposed locations for the 2+1 highway pilot were selected based on a site selection criteria report that received input from the public and the 2+1 Advancement Working Group.

“We’re excited to see the 2+1 pilot project moving forward. We’ve been working with Ontario for several years regarding safety on Highway 11 and have advocated for the 2+1 model. It is gratifying to see our hard work is paying off. Our main goal has always been the safety of our roads and our travellers, and we can’t thank the Ministry enough for delivering on their promise,” said Helene Culhane, chair of Going the Extra Mile for Safety.

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