Designated Truck Routes

Issue Update:  May 6, 2019 

City Administration has released the draft Designated Truck Route Bylaw. The Designated Truck Route By-law that was scheduled to go before City Council on Monday, April 29th, has been withdrawn, to be rescheduled to Monday, June 17th. Any deputations relating to this by-law will be rescheduled with the by-law.

It was recommended by Committee of the Whole that the by-law be deferred to a date when all of City Council will be present. The new date will be communicated to the public once set.

Download the pdf here.

Issue Update:  March 7, 2019 

On Monday night, [March 4] following another round of public deputations and discussions, Council ratified the decision to move forward with the creation of a Designated Truck Route by a 7-6 recorded vote.

The votes were as follows:

In Favour: Albert Aiello, Shelby Ch’ng, Andrew Foulds, Cody Fraser, Trevor Giertuga, Brian Hamilton, Aldo Ruberto

Opposed: Mark Bentz, Bill Mauro, Brian McKinnon, Rebecca Johnson, Kristen Oliver, Peng You

While we are very disappointed in this decision, the Chamber will continue our important work to outline the concerns of the business community to City Administration and City Council during the By-Law development process. In particular, we will be looking to ensure that the By-Law language is clear and that local deliveries will be permitted to occur in the most efficient way possible.

We welcome feedback from our Members on solutions that will address the needs of your business under this new City regulation.

Issue Update:  January 18, 2019

On January 14th, your Chamber made a deputation to City Council regarding the proposed Designated Truck Route in which we outlined our significant concerns about safety implications and increased costs to business and questions regarding the enforcement of weight restrictions and designated streets for truck deliveries throughout the city.  Following over 4 hours of discussion, Council approved the proposed Designated Truck Route by a vote of 7-6.

The issue will be coming back to Council for a ratification vote in the coming weeks.  We are continuing our efforts to educate Council and the community about our concerns and to advocate for a reversal of this decision.

On January 17, we participated with numerous member companies in a truck ride-along on the Thunder Bay Expressway/Hwy 11-17 and witnessed first-hand some safety issues which we have captured in the videos you’ll find below.

We encourage our members to share your concerns with City Council.  Council contact information can be found here.

Lessons From a Ride-Along

The largest concern expressed to us about the proposed new route by both businesses and citizens has been road safety.  The feeling is that the effect of all the traffic from three routes being streamed into one will not be cumulative; it will be exponential.  Our experience riding along with heavy truck drivers this past week showed us that there’s very good reason for that.

Trucks, with their heavy loads, take much longer to speed up or slow down than smaller passenger vehicles, and require a shockingly long distance to come to a stop from 90km/hr.  As we rode along, we got to see the ripple effects a couple of extra trucks have on rush hour traffic up close and personal:

  • when we slowed to politely let someone merge from the right, the traffic behind us slowed as well.  Then they had to wait as we sped up.
  • each time we stopped at a light, it took a long time to come to a stop.  Then it took a long time to gear up again.  So long, in fact, that sometimes only two or three vehicles in our lane could get through a green.
  • we learned that drivers have to calculate their stopping distance as soon as a light ahead turns yellow.  Sometimes the truck can’t physically be stopped before the intersection.
  • every time a vehicle sneaks into the lane ahead of a slowing truck, it increases the risk of a collision.  At every red light we watched passenger vehicles dart into the lane in front of our drivers to grab “pole position,” shortening our drivers’ available stopping distance.  They then have to brake extra hard to compensate, increasing the possibility of loads shifting dangerously.

Thanks to Stephen Laskowski of the Ontario Trucking Association for supplying us with a copy of the deputation he presented to Council on Monday January 21.  This document contains the graphics below which illustrate one of the concerns about an increased number of trucks stopping at and starting from the lights along Highway 11/17 from the Harbour Expressway through Red River Road.

The proposed Designated Truck Route is outlined in Corporate Report 103/2018, along with a corresponding proposed DTR map.  Download the Corporate Report here.

This issue remains ongoing and is of particular concern to your Chamber.  If you have concerns about the way this matter may affect your business, contact Charla Robinson, President, at (807) 624-2626 to be included in discussions.

Update September 12, 2018

The City of Thunder Bay has considered the feedback received from the community about the last draft and is now proposing a new designated truck route.  Residents and businesses are invited to learn more and have their say by attending the drop-in public open house, on Tuesday, Sept. 18, from 4:30 – 6:30 pm, with a the presentation taking place at 5 pm, at the Italian Cultural Centre.

View the full press release on this matter on the City’s website.

Click to expand

Update June 4, 2018:

Although Thunder Bay City Council was expected to discuss a report on the new proposed Designated Truck Route at the Committee of the Whole meeting on June 4, 2018, the item was removed from the agenda pending further consultation due to a number of concerns being raised about the report.

The new proposal includes the creation of a designated truck route system that would replace the existing heavy load by-law and integrate heavy load restrictions into the new DTR by-law.  The DTR by-law is proposed to identify corridors for truck traffic use within the city.  Existing heavy load restricted streets will be maintained with the addition of heavy load restrictions on Dawson Road, Oliver Road and Arthur Street.  All the currently available information is in this City Corporate Report: Designated Truck Route Report May 31, 2018.

The Chamber will continue to monitor developments on this issue and advise Members with any new information.


In May 2017 City Council announced plans for a new by-law that would restrict vehicles of over 15,000 kg to a designated route rather than the existing by-law which identifies certain roads that do not allow heavy traffic.  The designated route by-law approach identifies roads and parts of roads that trucks are allowed to use and makes it illegal for a truck to use any other roads that are not designated except where an exemption applies (ie: for delivering or receiving goods, etc).

The proposed designated route would have required transports, dump trucks, pulp trucks and other heavy vehicles to utilize what is locally known as the Shabaqua extension for travel in and out of the city to and from western destinations.  Had the new by-law been adopted, heavy trucks would no longer have been permitted to use Arthur Street between Hwy 61 & Hwy 17 or Dawson Road/Hwy 102 to Hwy 17 as their travel routes.

As this was a matter of significant concern to many Chamber Members, we asked the City of Thunder Bay to participate in an in-depth consultation with business to assess the realistic effects of the new Designated Truck Route and to identify alternative strategies.  The Chamber worked with City Administration to host a consultation session on May 25, 2017 that provided an opportunity for impacted businesses to learn more about the proposed changes and to express concerns or ask questions about the by-law.As a result of the business consultation session and our follow up letter to City Administration and City Council, City Administration prepared revisions to the by-law.

On February 15, 2018, the Chamber was pleased to host an information session for our members to learn more about the revised proposal for a municipal designated truck route.  We were happy to see that the city heard our concerns in relation to the original proposal which restricted truck traffic on all but 17 streets and would instead proceed with the current weight restrictions for streets within city limits.  However, we continued to be concerned with the revised designated truck route which would direct ALL truck traffic onto Highway 11/17 as there were ongoing questions regarding the safety of this proposal and the impacts on business accessibility and operator costs.

We appreciate the assistance of City Council and Administration in ensuring that business is consulted on this issue.

How You Can Participate:

If your business will be affected by the proposed changes to the Designated Truck Routes in Thunder Bay, please contact us to ensure you are included in future updates and invitations on this matter.

This is a Municipal Issue.
Contact us to be included in talks and updates.

Charla Robinson, President

Special thanks to our Members at Santorelli’s for reaching out to involve us in this issue.

Do you need support on an issue?  As a Chamber Member, you’ve got access to connections at all three levels of government. Learn more about our advocacy work on behalf of our Members here or contact us to discuss your concern.

The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce' advocacy work is made possible thanks to the generous support of our

Cornerstone Members: