The province of Ontario introduced new speed limit pilots to increase pace on three major provincial highways set to launch in mid-September.
In a statement on Friday, the government outlined an effort to “improve traffic flow and safety” on three sections of highways in Southern Ontario by posting speed limits of 110 km/h.
The affected roadways are the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from St. Catharines to Hamilton, Highway 402 from London to Sarnia, and Highway 417 from Ottawa/Gloucester to Ontario/Quebec border.
At the same time, Ontario will launch province-wide consultations on how to safely increase highway speeds to align with other provinces and how people currently drive.
At a press conference in London on Friday, Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek said the government will listen to people’s suggestions on how to best modernize Ontario’s highway network to better serve their needs.
“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.”
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Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly, at a news conference at the Ministry of Transportation office in Winona, said the Hamilton-St Catherines portion will run between Fruitland Road to just west of Highway 406 in St. Catharines.
Skelly went on to say the two-year pilot project for the QEW is especially important as it’s one of the main trucking and business routes connecting the GTA and the four U.S. border crossings in Niagara Falls.
“It’s a very straight piece of highway. It comes off of a bridge and ends before we get into another bridge. So it’s really testing on a safe piece of highway,” said Skelly, “We’ll see if it makes the commute faster.”
Raymond Chan, a government relations specialist with CAA South Central Ontario, says the roadside assistance outlet has been an advocate for changes to posted speed limits on stretches of select highways.
“A pilot program like the one being announced today is a measured approach and an ideal way to gradually explore the subject of raising speed limits and determine the impact on road safety.” said Chan, “We look forward to working with the ministry of transportation and other road safety partners during this pilot to both inform drivers about the importance of safely navigating Ontario’s roads and understand the data collected during this period to ensure that Ontario retains its standing as having some of the safest roads across North America.”
The province says consultations will begin in June, while the pilot is underway and road safety messages on the pilot roadways will be tentatively launched on September 16, 2019.
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