The chairman of the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association is asking help from the province to set up a Highway 11 task force. Val-Rita Harty Mayor Johanne Baril spoke to Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford in wake of the serious accident east of her community on Wednesday morning. Baril says the problem on northern highways is very complex.

“We need the truckers to move the material, we need to move the product,” she said. “We know there is a shortage of truckers. A lot of the new drivers are inexperienced especially on northern roads. We also know that the OPP is doing their very best to patrol this long stretch of highway.”

Baril believes the taskforce can immediately take care of some of the issues.

“Give some more money to the highway maintenance companies without re-classifying the highway so they can get out earlier,” she said. “We know that reclassifying a highway, takes a while to get that done. Another one could be that the truckers have a directive that all cabs have to have winter tires.”

Baril says the taskforce needs to include all stakeholders from Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, to trucking companies, transport drivers, as well as businesses and politicians from the region.