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 leads to 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 absence of drainage contributes to making the sector “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 been asking for corrective measures, forcing the Ministry to carry out the work within two years, in addition to paying the legal fees for the small town of 1,500 inhabitants.
“It’s a victory for all road users”, reacts the mayor of Wentworth-Nord, François Ghali.
He hopes this decision will set a precedent and inspire other municipalities to do the same.
However, he deplores having had 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 that a few years ago he himself had witnessed a road trip 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. That we have to sue the MTQ so that it corrects something so aberrant, it’s sad, he laments. He must 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.
His cabinet directed us instead to the MTQ, where, according to the judgment, we felt that the corrective measures were not a priority since no death had occurred, but there too we did not want to comment.