On Jan. 4, I drove to Winnipeg via the Baudette-Warroad route to get family to the airport there.
Highway 11 to Rainy River was in awful condition after the snowstorm that went through the area. I was glad to be driving in four-wheel drive with snow tires.
But after crossing into Minnesota, I found the highway to Warroad to be bare!
It went from a highway that, in spots, you could get a shinney game going to “bare” asphalt. From treacherous to a leisurely drive on a clear, safe highway.
I asked myself how can this be? The highways are only a few miles apart from one another.
I called a D.O.T. number in Minnesota and spoke with a friendly and obliging fellow named Jake, who is the plow supervisor for that very highway. I explained to him what a drastic difference there was from our Highway 11 and theirs.
Why were their highways in almost summer condition and ours so snow- and ice-packed?
I could tell by his voice during our conversation that he was thrilled to hear such positive feedback on their efforts in keeping the highway in such great shape.
He gave credit to his plow drivers, who he described as a dedicated and competent group whose mission is to keep the road as safe as they can.
They are government employees. He said, “We put more steel to the road than you do up there. More plows working whatever time it takes around the clock.”
The result? Dry, safe roads. And, yes, they got dumped on like we did. Jake told me 13-15 inches of snow throughout the area.
We Canadians pay gas tax that is now 35 percent of the pump price! That money is used for???
Well, for the last royal visit by William, Kate and the kids . . . just the RCMP security costs, wages, overtime, and travel was $2 million!
Our government is pretty smug when comparing our social safety nets and our medical system to that of our neighbours to the south. They seem to be failing badly at keeping our roads safe, however.
No money for that in Northwestern Ontario!
Dozens of school buses with hundreds of kids are sharing a road/rink with pulp trucks and now mine traffic every school day! Comparing our highway to Minnesota’s, we ought to be embarrassed!
I hope it doesn’t take a tragic incident to see it for what it is: ridiculous!