Speed limits on six sections of Ontario highways will soon be set to 110 kilometres per hour on a permanent basis.
The Canadian Press has learned the increased speed limits on stretches of 400-series highways will be set in stone as of Apr. 22. The province launched a pilot project in 2019 to test the higher speeds on a trial basis.
Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney will reportedly make the announcement on Tuesday and says the sections of highway were carefully selected based on their ability to accommodate the higher speeds.
Six sections of Ontario highways where 110 km/h speed limits will be made permanent:
Queen Elizabeth Way – from Hamilton to St. Catharines
Highway 401 – from Windsor to Tilbury
Highway 402 – from London to Sarnia
Highway 404 – Newmarket to Woodbine
Highway 417 – from Ottawa to the Quebec border
Highway 417 – Kanata to Arnpior
Two sections of provincial highways in cottage country will also see their speed limits increased on a trial basis. The province will boost speeds to 110 kilometres per hour on Highway 400 from Mactier to Nobel and on Highway 11 from Emsdale to South River.
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According to the province, the six stretches of highway with higher speeds have not seen a bump in collisions when compared to areas with lower speed limits.
The pilot project included public consultations on the effect of the new speed limits and the province says the majority of respondents were in support of the increased speeds. As part of the project, the Ministry of Transportation posted enhanced signs and safety messaging on the designated routes.
The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) revealed statistics last week that revealed speeding and aggressive driving deaths in the province reached a decade-high in 2021.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says 81 people lost their lives in speed-related incidents on Ontario highways last year. There were 315 total deaths on Ontario roads in 2021, a three per cent increase from the year before.
Earlier this month, the province announced a 30-year plan for public transit and highway expansions across the Greater Toronto Area and Golden Horseshoe, with plans to spend $82 billion in the next decade.
As part of the plan the province intends to complete the controversial Highway 413 and Bradford Bypass. The proposed highways have received their share of criticism with detractors claiming the new routes will have significant environmental impact without saving much time for drivers. The province also intends to widen bottlenecks on Highways 400, 401, 403 and the QEW.