Big Changes Coming to Some Major Ontario Highways

 

One of the biggest challenges facing Ontario's government is the flow and safety on the highways.

To address these challenges the government plans to introduce new three-speed limit pilots on select highways as well as a province-wide consultation on how to safely increase highway speeds to align with other provinces, and how people currently drive.

Minister of Transportation, Jeff Yurek was joined by Bob Bailey, the MPP for Sarnia-Lambton, to explain how the government will listen to Ontarian's suggestions on how to best modernize the province's highway network.

“Results from the pilot and all feedback received during consultations will be carefully considered as a part of the final decision-making process,” said Yurek. “We’re also working with our road safety and enforcement partners.”

There are currently 3 sections of highways planned to be pilot locations in Southern Ontario. A pilot location will have the speed posted at 110 km/h starting sometime in September. Increased safety signs will ensure drivers are aware of where speed limits are changing.

The highways that will receive a pilot location are:

  • Highway 402 from London to Sarnia.

  • The Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from St. Catharines to Hamilton.

  • Highway 417 from Ottawa/Gloucester to Ontario/Quebec border.

A fourth pilot in northern Ontario is also being considered.

Currently, there are six other provinces in Canada that have posted speed limits of 110 km/h or higher on certain highways.

“Safety is the government’s number one priority and each pilot location was carefully chosen based on a number of factors, including its ability to accommodate higher speed limits,” said Yurek.

The government also plans to propose amendments that keep the street-racing penalties at 150 km/h. This means in pilot zones the street-racing penalties will apply at 40 km/h over the posted speed limit, not the usual 50 km/h over.

“The Ontario Safety League traditionally bases their position on science, and the science tells us that although excessive speed is a factor in many crashes, under normal driving conditions and with reasonable driving attention it would have virtually no impact,” said Brian Patterson, the President and CEO of the Ontario Safety League.

Consultations will are planned to begin in the coming weeks.

Ontario’s highways are among the safest in North America, ranking the lowest or second lowest in fatality rates among all jurisdictions for 18 consecutive years.

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