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New highway attracts speeders

MONCTON, N.B. -- Winter road conditions weren't enough to slow down drivers on the four-lane Trans-Canada Highway b...

MONCTON, N.B. — Winter road conditions weren’t enough to slow down drivers on the four-lane Trans-Canada Highway between Fredericton and Moncton during the month of January.

Even though snow-plowing and salting were needed for almost the entire month, the firm that operates and maintains the highway reported the average travelling speed of motorists for the month was “well above” the posted speed limit of 110 kilometres per hour.

“The biggest concern that we’ve had over the winter is people are still travelling at very high rates of speed,” says Richard Scott, the general manager of MRDC Operations.

“In January, the recorded speeds from the instrumentation that’s on the highway indicated that traffic was well above the posted speed limit.”

Data-gathering technology embedded in the pavement records the speed of all vehicles on the highway. Scott would not reveal the average speed.

The Department of Public Safety noted before the new highway opened last October that RCMP were “routinely” seeing speeds of 160 km-h on some divided highways in the province, with speeds in excess of 200 km-h being recorded in some instances. That prompted the province to institute a new category of speeding offence in the Motor Vehicle Act, which calls for a $300 fine and five demerit points for anyone travelling more than 50 km-h above the speed limit.

Scott says all MRDC can do about speeding motorists is try to raise awareness about the importance of obeying speed limits.

“We certainly try and get the story out… but we are not in the enforcement business and it’s really an enforcement issue.”

There has been one fatality on the new highway.

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