Niagara Region, City of Thorold Reach Agreement With Province’s MTO to keep Thorold Tunnel open to Two-Way Traffic

Thorold Mayor Terry Ugulini

“I am pleased with the outcome. ….I have personally heard from  hundreds of residents and businesses as to the importance of the Thorold Tunnel  and I want to assure everyone that we took your concerns directly to the  ministry.”                                                              – Terry Ugulini, Mayor, City of Thorold

News from Niagara’s Regional Government

Posted November 29th, 2019 on Niagara At Large

Niagara, Ontario – On Monday, Nov. 25, representatives from the Ministry of Transportation, Niagara Region and City of Thorold met to discuss potential solutions regarding  the challenges of snow clearing in the Thorold Tunnel during the construction.

The problem-plagued Thorold Tunnel seems to be in a permanent state of reconstruction. The tunnel has been the scene of water leaks, traffic accidents and other bad scenes for decades. Is it being fixed well this time? File photo by Doug Draper

All parties are pleased to announce that a mutually agreed upon solution has  been reached to keep the tunnel open to two-way traffic this winter.

Monday’s discussion centered on the need to ensure safety for motorists as everyone’s top priority, while respecting the serious inconvenience that a  detour would cause if the tunnel were only available to one-way traffic.

The  main challenge to overcome was the existing barrier that separates the west and  eastbound traffic that would not allow a standard snowplow to operate in the tunnel.

To this end, the Ministry of Transportation, Niagara Region and City of Thorold  agreed to the following solution to keep the tunnel operational to two-way traffic:

  •  1. The MTO will maintain the current traffic configuration by using smaller two-ton snowplows that can fit in the tunnel. The equipment, resources and personnel required to operate these plows will be provided at the ministry’s expense.
  • 2. Given the smaller size of these plows and their limited ability to keep up with very heavy snow fall, the periodic full closure of the tunnel may be required to keep motorists safe
  • 3. The MTO, Niagara Region, and Cities of Thorold, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines all agreed they would work together to effectively communicate with Niagara’s residents in the event of a full closure
  • 4. The MTO will implement highly visible signage in the event of a full closure and clearly mark the appropriate detour route

The MTO provided Regional and City representatives a series of five options for  discussion. The solution to use smaller trucks, with periodic full closures  during heavy blizzard conditions, was the only option that both maintained  safety for motorists and left the tunnel open to two-way traffic.

Niagara Region and the City of Thorold wish to thank the MTO for partnering with  their municipal partners to arrive at a solution that is mutually agreed upon by  all parties.

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney


“I want to thank the motorists of Niagara for their patience while we worked to  find a beneficial solution for this key transportation artery. Our municipal and  regional partners know the needs of their communities best, and as Minister of  Transportation, I am committed to working collaboratively with them on issues of  importance.” ~ Caroline Mulroney, Ontario Minister of Transportation

“I want to thank the Ministry of Transportation for their prompt attention to  this issue and taking our legitimate concerns seriously. The Thorold Tunnel is a  key transportation artery in the Region and the solution we all agreed upon  keeps this conduit open while maintaining safety on the roadways. I am pleased  to see all of the partners working closely together to come to a mutually  agreeable resolution to this challenging situation.” ~ Jim Bradley, Regional Chair

“I am pleased with the outcome of Monday’s meeting which ensures we can keep the  Thorold Tunnel open to two-way traffic this winter. I have personally heard from  hundreds of residents and businesses as to the importance of the Thorold Tunnel  and I want to assure everyone that we took your concerns directly to the  ministry. I applaud the MTO for working with us to find a solution that both  keeps everyone safe and continues to allow for two-way traffic through the  Thorold Tunnel.” ~ Terry Ugulini, Mayor, City of Thorold

And here is a response to this news, issued this November 28th,  from Niagara MPPs Jeff Burch for Niagara Centre and Wayne Gates for Niagara Falls

NDP MPPs Burch and Gates respond to the latest update on the Thorold Tunnel

Niagara Centre MPP Jeff Burch

THOROLD—NDP municipal affairs critic Jeff Burch MPP (Niagara Centre) and Wayne Gates MPP (Niagara Falls) have responded to the announcement by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) that the Thorold tunnel will now remain open for two-way traffic, after both MPPs raised this issue with the Minister at the Ontario legislature.

“I’m glad to hear from the City of Thorold and the MTO that they followed our suggestion and had a productive meeting regarding the issues with the Thorold tunnel, with a solution on the way. It’s unfortunate that the situation had to come to this, but I’m thankful that the Niagara Region and the City of Thorold were able to present solutions that would maintain the current two-way configuration of traffic”, said Burch.

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates

“This is great news for the 24,300 vehicles that use the tunnel daily. It is my hope that expedient communication and collaboration between the MTO and local governments will be a priority going forward,” added Burch.

“I’m happy to see that the work of the cities, region, and local MPPs were able to convince the Ministry of Transportation to find a solution to this issue. I hope this level of communication can continue. This will be a benefit to the thousands of residents and businesses that need access to the tunnel on a daily basis,” said Gates.

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