Why increase the speed limit?
According to Ontario’s transportation minister, Caroline Mulroney, the province is changing speed limits for two main reasons:
Consistency in Canada: Six other provinces in Canada have speed limits of at least 110 km per hour. In fact, some B.C. highways have speed limits of up to 120 km per hour! This change will bring Ontario in line with its provincial peers.
Blast from the past: Ontario’s highway speed limits didn’t always sit at 100 km per hour. Before 1975, they were faster. The government lowered them in the face of rising oil prices and fewer fuel-efficient cars.
The pilot was announced in May and began on September 26, 2019. The ultimate goal is to raise speed limits across the province. During the pilot project, the province will be monitoring safety and holding consultations with law enforcement and the public to bring speed limits in Ontario up to par with other provinces.
Which highways will have changed speed limits?
Before you put your pedal to the metal, remember that this is a pilot project, and only applies to specific stretches of the 400-series highways. Speed limits on these highways may be changed once the pilot is complete. They include:
Highway 402: From Sarnia to London (90 km)
Highway 417: From Gloucester (east of Ottawa) to the Ontario-Quebec border (102 km)
Queen Elizabeth Way: From Hamilton to St. Catharines (32 km)
The government is also mulling over whether to add a fourth stretch in Northern Ontario.
So, why were these sections chosen for the pilot? They were deemed the most suitable when taking into account safety and infrastructure reasons for standard Ontario speed limits. As part of the pilot project, the government will be adding more signs along the routes so drivers are aware of and understand the speed limit changes.