Close the scales before someone gets badly hurt
Has it ever occurred to you that when travelling eastbound on the QEW, through Oakville, your life could be in extreme danger?
Many who reside in Mississauga and the surrounding area, travel the QEW on a regular basis. It’s the primary highway route along the north shore of Lake Ontario, which connects Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, Stoney Creek and points further around the lake.
The reason is the QEW eastbound truck weigh scale located just west of 4th line.
Traffic is moving (except at rush hour) at speeds of 110 to 120 km/h.
Trucks coming out of the weigh scale move at a speeds of 30 to 60 km/h, depending on the weight that they are hauling.
Empty trucks may be directed to use the empty lane in order to pass straight through.
They don’t go to the scale, but, they are still restricted to 40 km/h.
That doesn’t seem to be happening a lot these days.
The inspectors want to get a good look at the truck when it’s close to them, on the scale.
Even those that go straight through at 40 km/h have no hope of getting back up to highway speed quickly.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a truck re-entering into 110 to 120 km/h traffic at 30 to 40 km/h is putting the lives of the motoring public at tremendous risk.
The scale supervisor is aware of the danger and has an additional and very legitimate concern: that if the trucks passing straight through don’t reduce speed to 40 km/h when officers are working on the ramps, lives are in danger.
His concerns were placed in the hands of his superiors with no results. So the truck drivers put one or the other at risk.
The highway 401 eastbound scale at Milton is equally bad for the same reasons. The Trafalgar Road bridge prevents lengthening of that re-entry ramp.
Frank Klees, the previous Transport Minister in the Harris government, was made aware of these dangers in March of 2003 in writing, by myself.
There were other items of public safety as well. I have never seen any of them being dealt with.
Shortly after the last provincial election, the new Minister of Transport was made aware of this issue by means of a meeting I had with his executive assistant.
To date there have been no changes. There wasn’t even a reply to the letter.
Why are they not making the corrections?
Just because there have not been any serious collisions where the scales were a contributing factor, is no guarantee that it won’t happen.
I believe it is only a matter of time. I’ve heard too many complaints from motorists having to move rapidly out of a lane to avoid collision.
Another reason for not taking action, I believe is that these scales produce a substantial amount of revenue.
If they close these scales; which is what I believe they should do, the government will forfeit this revenue.
Their lack of action tells me that they care nothing for your safety. Oh, they say safety is uppermost in their minds, but the actions speak louder than words.
It is true that they are in the process of widening QEW but as anyone who drives this highway knows, before you widen the highway, you must first widen the bridges.
That will take some time; especially the bridge over 16-Mile creek.
In this case the 4th line bridge is the one that is in the way. If the trucks don’t re-enter the highway at the end of the existing ramp and run onto the paved shoulder, which is illegal, they will hit the bridge due to insufficient clearance.
Back in December of 2002 I advised the Harris government that the first accident that I became aware of, in which the scale was a contributing factor, would lead to a charge of Criminal Negligence against the Minister of Transport. On the 13th of May 2005, the current Minister of Transport, The Honourable Harinder Takhar was notified of the same thing. Although I personally find this Minister to be a long way ahead of his predecessors, I believe that the public safety should take precedence over revenue.
The solution is to close these scales and any others like them until the problems they create can be corrected.
Criminal Negligence is not just committing a criminal act; it is also failing to take measures to prevent an occurrence when one has knowledge that the possibility of death or injury is present.
I would invite you to contact the Minister of Transport directly, The MPP for the Oakville area, Kevin Flynn, or myself at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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