After construction in 2021 this westbound lane of Brydges Street had its left turn lane removed on approach to Hale Street in London, Ontario. But the old centre-line was not completely removed leading to some potentially catastrophic incidents.

The deaths of six young occupants of a vehicle that fell into a large drainage hole in a construction site on McKay Road in Barrie Ontario in late August, 2022 point to lack of monitoring of roadway construction activity in Ontario. Municipal roadway operations in the Province of Ontario have become accountable to no one. It is not clear how this developed.

London Ontario is no different than other municipalities. As shown in the above photo certain roadway operations create potentially deadly scenarios. The results of these obvious roadway deficiencies are not publicized. In fact, an effort is engaged to hide those deficiencies from the public. Here are some examples.

Two Examples of the Problem

The above photo was taken in September, 2021 after road construction was completed near the intersection of Brydges and Hale Streets in east London. A left-turn lane along westbound Brydges Street was to be removed and a new centre-line was painted through the middle of the road. It can be seen in the photo that, although the old centre-line was partially removed, it was far from invisible. It fact it was very visible to westbound drivers. This was apparent when observations of traffic were made. The sequence of photos below shows an example of one westbound vehicle driver who obviously mistook the old centre-line to be still in effect.

This view shows a westbound driver of an SUV on Brydges Street approaching the intersection at Hale Street. The traffic signal is red and an eastbound vehicle is stopped on the west side of the intersection. We can see the driver of the SUV is braking. We can also see the newly painted centre-line and the SUV is travelling to the left of it.
As the SUV progresses further westward the above photo shows that the traffic signal turns green. The SUV is fully to the left of the newly painted centre-line of the road.
As the westbound SUV reaches the intersection the driver of the eastbound vehicle would be expected to accelerate forward and it is not clear whether that eastbound driver was confused or if he/she recognized that the westbound driver was following the guidance provided by the partially- obscured, old centre-line.
In this photo it can be seen that the eastbound driver likely recognized the confusion of the westbound driver and proceeded past without incident. But what if both vehicles had been approaching each other on a green signal? Would that same understanding unfold successfully?

In a quick survey of just over 18 minutes conducted on September 12, 2021, 12 westbound vehicles were documented on Brydges Street as they approached Hale Street. On eight occasions the westbound vehicles were observed travelling onto the wrong side of the new centre-line, and following the guidance of the old centre-line. A quick call to police led to modifications whereby traffic cones were laid down to guide drivers from the old centre-line to the new one as shown in the photo below. Up to the time that the call was made neither police nor city officials were aware of the danger.

After a call was made to police some traffic cones were laid a few days later guiding drivers from the old centre-line to the new as shown in this photo of September 19, 2021.

A scenario like this is not uncommon, as exemplified by the photos below, taken on January 7, 2023, showing a confusing centre-line marked in the southbound lanes of Wellington Street at King Street in downtown London.

In the fall of 2022 road construction on Wellington Street in London required that northbound traffic be diverted into the southbound lanes and this was done through a gap in the centre median outlined by the traffic cones in this photo. Following the completion of the construction northbound traffic was once again allowed to proceed along the northbound lanes. But someone forgot to remove the centre-line that was painted while the detour was in effect.
As can be seen in this southward view along Wellington Street there is a yellow centre-line painted between the two southbound lanes. Even more confusing is that there are painted arrows in the southbound passing lane that inform drivers that traffic must proceed northbound in this southbound lane.
Drivers not familiar with the fact that these lines were painted due to a detour could easily become confused and panic, possibly steering quickly out of the passing lane thinking that they are travelling the wrong way.

After over a week passed by the City of London began another construction activity in the northbound lane of Wellington Street. This new activity was right next to the spot where the centre-line was painted in the southbound lanes from the previous construction. It should have been simple for someone to recognize the painted centre line in the southbound lanes since work was being done right next to it. But that did not happen, as can be seen in the following photos.

This is a view looking south along the southbound lanes of Wellington Street on approach to King Street on January 16, 2023, or about 10 days after the photos shown above. An SUV in the passing lane is approaching King Street in the passing lane of Wellington Street while the traffic signal is red. The confusing centre-line painted in the southbound lanes is just ahead of the SUV so the driver may have detected its confusing guidance.
Upon crossing through the confusing markings it can be seen that the SUV quickly steers into the curb lane, suggesting that this action was because the roadway markings indicated the driver was driving southbound in a “northbound” lane.
As can be seen in this photo taken on January 16, 2023 the confusing roadway markings were still present in the southbound passing lane of Wellington Street.

Many incidents such as the one shown above become resolved due to the ability of human drivers to unravel these complexities which require a superior understanding of context. However, what would happen if the driver of the southbound vehicle did not exist? What if this was a “Self-Driving” vehicle or one in some form of automated control? Would the self-driving features of the vehicle detect the situation correctly or would it violently steer the vehicle into greater danger because of the markings on the pavement? One can only wonder. But not every human driver is the same. When municipalities create confusing contexts there will be instances where drivers cannot unravel the conflicting messages in time to prevent a collision.


The City of London must employ road inspectors to patrol roads like this as prescribed in the Minimum Maintenance Standards (MMS) legislated in the Municipal Act of Ontario. If such inspectors actually passed through this site as required there should have been an obvious ability to detect the problem with the centre-line marking and this should have been corrected immediately. Yet, for at least 10 days, the problem with the roadway marking has not been corrected. So how and where did this failure originate?

If a collision occurs and a claim is made against a city like London there is a Risk Management Department available to protect its interests. In many instances the lawyers in this department are not obliged to simply pay out claims even when there is some fault on the part of the City. Their job is to minimize those payouts and to protect City employees and departments from liability. And often the Risk Management Department works to maintain secrecy about problems in the City that could generate a claim. This often involves operating behind the sight of elected officials who are obliged to appear transparent in the eyes of the electorate. This is why, when an elected official is approached about a roadway complaint the complainant is steered toward staff employees who are not obliged to be transparent and are not obliged to inform the public about their activities.

This secrecy is at the heart of many road safety problems that are not resolved even after there have been tragic collisions that could have been prevented if a road problem was properly identified and corrected. Plaintiff and defense lawyers alike play games to absolve their clients from liability but this does nothing to improve the safety of the general public.