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Town part of push to widen Highway 53


Fort Frances is backing a proposal to widen Highway 53 to four lanes between International Falls and Virginia, Mn. in an effort to make the border crossing here one of the best in Canada.

A group, spearheaded by Bob Anderson of Boise Cascade, was slated to meet this morning to discuss the issue further. And Geoff Gillon, of the Rainy River Future Development Corp. here, planned to attend.

While the town isn’t considering kicking in dollars for the project, Mayor Glenn Witherspoon said widening Highway 53 would impact the local economy.

“It would create a better highway structure for tourists to come to Fort Frances,” he noted yesterday, adding he already had attended one such meeting.

“It would speed up the flow,” agreed Gillon, adding his U.S. counterparts had some questions as to what was going on with the proposed new customs facility here.

But Gillon also stressed making Highway 53 four lanes to International Falls would bode well for future trade partnerships, saying it would create a major trade route down as far as Mexico.

“It would give us better access to the U.S.,” he noted. “It’s one more opportunity to market our region.”

In other news, Gillon will be attending a meeting in Steinbach, Man. on Sept. 18 as reps from Manitoba, Ontario, and Minnesota look to promote the so-called MOM Highway.

But so far, no signs have gone up to promote the route between Winnipeg and Shabaqua south of the traditional trans-Canada (Highway 17).

“We’re still working on concept,” Gillon said.

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