Ontario is committing to upgrade truck parking in several areas across the province, improving 14 existing rest areas, building 10 new rest areas, and adding 178 new truck parking spaces at four existing ONroute travel plazas.
“Truck drivers spend long hours moving goods of every type and description on our roadways and we need to ensure they have a modern, safe and welcoming place to stop and rest,” said Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney in a related press release.
Parking and washrooms remain available at 23 ONroute locations, even in the midst of a provincial shutdown due to Covid-19, and other portable washrooms have been made available at truck inspection stations.
When previously announcing truck parking enhancements in Northern Ontario, Mulroney referred to the situation as a “basic humanity issue”.
Enhancements in that region include 10 new rest areas, and expansions or repairs at 11 others.
Upgrades will include better lighting, signage to clarify vehicle size restrictions and access, new highway rest area signs that signify “cars only” when there’s only space for smaller vehicles, and improved turn lanes for large vehicles where feasible.
Outlined projects for 2021 include:
- Gananoque truck area on Hwy. 401 westbound – Converting inspection facility into a truck rest area, and increase truck parking to 29 spaces
- Truck rest area along Hwy. 402 near Sarnia – New construction at the former Sarnia North commercial vehicle inspection facility on Hwy 402 to convert the facility to a truck rest area
- Bainsville ONroute – Increased truck parking
- Cambridge North and South ONroutes – Increased truck parking
- Ontario/Manitoba rest area at Hwy. 17 – Rehab and expansions including lighting, interior and exterior washrooms, heating and insulation, wifi access and information kiosks
- Umfreville rest area at Hwy. 72 – Entrance improvements
- Rossport rest area at Hwy. 17 – Entrance improvements
- Lodge Lake rest area at Hwy. 17 – Rehabilitation work
- Leonard Lake rest area at Hwy. 11 – Rehabilitation work
- Argon Lake rest area at Hwy. 17 – Expanding and repairing existing rests area, and adding all-season washrooms
- Manitouwadge rest area at Hwy. 17/614 – Working with municipality, constructing all-season washrooms, building a new entrance, improving lighting, and increasing parking capacity.
- Hearst (Ryland) rest area at Hwy. 11 – Expansions including all-season washrooms and increased parking capacity.
Work in 2022 will include the Trenton South ONroute, Gibson Lake rest area along Hwy. 17, Gull Bay rest area along Hwy. 527, the rest area along Hwy. 527 near Hwy. 811, Mulligan Lake rest area along Hwy. 599, Klotz Lake rest area on Hwy. 11., and a new rest area at Terrace Bay along Hwy. 17.
Other projects extending into 2025 are listed here.
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation introduced portable washroom facilities at locations such as roadside inspection stations in the early days of Covid-19, when many truck stops and customers were limiting access to drivers.
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has applauded the move.
“OTA applauds today’s announcement by Minister Mulroney. Combined with earlier projects announced in Northern Ontario, the government of Ontario continues to show its never-ending commitment to assist the trucking industry in addressing important issues like truck rest areas,” said CEO and president Stephen Laskowski.
Rest areas will also become a key location for a public awareness strategy to combat human trafficking. ONroute locations will spread awareness about the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, while related information will be posted in rest areas, carpool lots, and truck inspection stations.
“Raising awareness is a key part of our Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy and the first line of defence against stopping such a horrific crime,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues.