March 14, 2019 12:29 pm
Updated: March 14, 2019 5:45 pm

Quebec agrees to compensate drivers stuck on Highway 13 during 2017 snow storm

WATCH: The Quebec government has agreed to provide compensation to drivers who were stranded for hours on Highway 13 in March 2017. Global's Billy Shields reports.

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The province of Quebec has agreed to compensate drivers who were trapped for hours overnight on Highway 13 during an intense snow storm on March 14 to 15, 2017.

“I’m really impressed. I’m quite surprised,” said Marlene Berman, who was stranded on the highway that night. “I thought it would take a lot longer.”

Nicknamed “the shipwrecked 13,” about 300 motorists were stranded after a massive pileup on the autoroute halted traffic.

READ MORE: Massive pile-up on Highway 13 strands hundreds of drivers overnight

Some drivers spent the night in their vehicles — for over 12 hours in 40 centimetres of snow — while others abandoned their cars and left on foot after waiting hours for help.

WATCH BELOW: Montreal refuses to negotiate Highway 13 lawsuit


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The plaintiffs’ lawyers confirmed Thursday that the province agreed to an out-of-court settlement.

“We’re very happy about it,” said lawyer Gabrielle Gagné.

“We’re also very happy we got a settlement quickly.”

READ MORE: Quebec sits down at negotiating table in Highway 13 class-action lawsuit

This agreement must be ratified by the Superior Court before those stranded can be compensated.

WATCH BELOW: Motorists stranded overnight on Montreal highway

Compensation amounts range from $350 for those stuck on the highway for four hours or less and $1,100 for anyone who was trapped for 10 hours or more.

READ MORE: Stranded Highway 13 drivers prepare for long legal fight in Montreal

There is, in addition, a 25 per cent bonus for some of those affected, including children under the age of 12, people over the age of 75, pregnant women, people with medical conditions and anyone who was forced to stop working following the events.

The incident led to a provincial probe and in his May 2017 report, investigator Florent Gagné concluded authorities underestimated the severity of the issue and communicated poorly with each other.

WATCH BELOW: Lawsuit approved for stranded drivers after Montreal snowstorm

He added there weren’t enough people working in the transport department the night of the storm and transport minister at the time, Laurent Lessard, can’t be blamed for inaction because critical details weren’t brought to his attention.

READ MORE: Quebec opposition parties call for transport minister’s resignation after Highway 13 pile-up

About 2,500 people are part of the class action lawsuit.

For its part, the City of Montreal is maintaining its refusal to negotiate.

Lawyers say they will continue on with their class action lawsuit against the city.

WATCH BELOW: What went wrong on Highway 13?

— With files from Global’s Billy Shields

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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