Twinning of the Trans Canada Highway, east of West Hawk Lake is now one step closer to happening.

The Ontario provincial government announced on Wednesday that they have awarded a contract to Moncrief Construction to widen the first section of Highway 17 from two to four lanes with construction set to begin this spring. The twinning of the Trans Canada Highway between the Manitoba-Ontario border and Kenora comes after years of discussion.

The twinning is expected to be completed in three sections: Manitoba/Ontario border to Highway 673 (6.5 km); Highway 673 to Rush Bay Road (8.5 km); Rush Bay Road to Highway 17A (25 km).

Construction of the second and third sections will begin once the necessary environmental assessments and route planning have been completed.

"The Twinning of Highway 17 is a legacy infrastructure project that will make roads safer in the Kenora region," says Greg Rickford, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kenora - Rainy River.

"Families deserve to feel safe on the roads and that is exactly what our government will accomplish by widening this stretch of the highway," he adds. "Having more room on the road is critical, especially during the winter months in Northern Ontario.

"Awarding the construction contract for twinning Highway 17 is an exciting milestone towards making this critical highway safer for drivers in Northern Ontario," says Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. "Together with Indigenous communities in the Kenora region, we have a shared goal of creating jobs, improving safety and building a better transportation system in Northern Ontario."

According to the province, the twinning of the first section of Highway 17 will create approximately 310 jobs for the area.

The awarded contract includes requirements to work with Indigenous partners in the area.

The total project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2025.