Kenora MP Eric Melillo says he wants to see Highway 17 get twinned right through northwestern Ontario, if the federal government will step up and commit to the work.

In an interview on the Q Morning Show today, Melillo says he will be advocating for further twinning work past the Kenora area and further east in the upcoming session of federal Parliament at the House of Commons.

“Simply put, right now the only barrier to completion of that project is the federal government. I am renewing my calls for them to step up and commit to this funding. It’s long past the time that we get it done,” he says,

Melillo notes the Highway 17 twinning project in Ontario is still in its first phase of work after its initial announcement in 2009, with work beginning between the provincial border and the junction of Highway 673 and the TransCanada in March 2022.

“It’s great to see that the highway project is underway with the support of the province, but there’s certainly more funding needed to complete this to Kenora and right through northwestern Ontario, and the federal government must be a partner for that to happen,” Melillo adds.

Provincial Northern Development Minister and Kenora-Rainy River MPP, Greg Rickford, has previously estimated that all three phases of the work – between the border and Highway 17A west of Keewatin – could wrap up by 2025.

Yesterday, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson committed to twinning Highway 17 between the border and 5 kilometres west of Provincial Road 301 in the Falcon Lake area, after a Dryden family’s call to action and open letter to the government in August.

A timeline for the project is expected to be announced this fall.