After 20 years of inaction and bad faith, the Quebec Ministry of Transport will be forced to correct a dangerous road in the Laurentians which results in numerous accidents each year, the Superior Court ruled.
“The Court cannot justify or endorse such passivity considering that the problem is recognized by the Ministry of Transport of Quebec (MTQ), and that the accident rate is higher than the critical rate despite the signs”, maintains the Judge Élise Poisson in a decision rendered yesterday blaming the MTQ for its bad faith regarding a dangerous stretch of road.
The small municipality of Wentworth-Nord, located west of Saint-Jérôme, has been calling for repair work for more than 20 years on a small segment of the Main road, where a 110 degree curve puts motorists at risk of be thrown off the road.
In addition, the lack of drainage contributes to making the area “problematic”, according to a study carried out by the MTQ in 2019, “although there have been no serious or fatal accidents” so far.
“The decision to go against the recommendations […] and to wait for the occurrence of a serious or fatal accident, before remedying the problem, corresponds to a decision taken against good faith, “said the magistrate.
” A victory “
Thus, the court ruled in favor of the municipality, which had long demanded corrective measures, forcing the ministry to carry out the work within two years, in addition to paying legal fees for the small town of 1,500 inhabitants.
“This is a victory for all road users,” reacted the mayor of Wentworth-Nord, François Ghali.
He hopes this decision will set a precedent and inspire other municipalities to do the same.
He regrets, however, that he needed to turn to the courts to force the MTQ to get busy doing work valued at around $ 100,000.
“That a municipality is obliged to sue an institution to repair a small stretch of road – 200 meters, we agree – which is problematic and which sends people into the background, which causes injuries, it is unprecedented, unacceptable and against common sense, ”he protests.
Already two accidents
Since the start of the year alone, two accidents have occurred at this location, he added.
He remembers a few years ago he himself witnessed a drive off the road leaving a woman with a bloody face.
“If you’re not used to it and don’t significantly reduce your speed, you end up in the background, that’s for sure. It is sad that we have to sue the MTQ to correct something so aberrant, he laments. He needs to review his way of prioritizing projects. “
The Minister of Transport, François Bonnardel, did not deign to give his opinion on the fact that a small municipality is thus obliged to apply to the courts to protect road users.
Instead, his office directed us to the MTQ, where, according to the ruling, it was felt that remedies were not a priority since no deaths had occurred, but there too we did not want to comment.