In a February 5, 2020 news article data was presented from testing conducted along Westbound Highway 403 from Hamilton’s Lincoln Alexander Parkway to Highway 401 at Woodstock. Since then additional analysis has been completed from testing on Westbound Highway 401 from Highway 403 through to Highbury Ave in London. A chart of the new Hwy 401 data is shown below.
In the February 5, 2020 article charts similar to the one shown above were presented from testing on three expressways ( 401, 402 and 403) and comparisons were made. All the charts can be be summarized further via the table of motion values shown below.
As was discussed in the previous article, what stands out is the data from Westbound Highway 402 from Miller Rd (near London) to Hickory Rd (near Strathroy). This shows that this 16 kilometre section of Highway 402 is in poor condition.
The above table also shows that the surface of Highway 401 between Woodstock and Tilbury, a distance of approximately 180 kilometres, is in better condition than the rest of the tested expressways. A section of Hwy 401 between the Putnam weight scales and Hwy 73 (Elgin Rd) showed higher motions of the test vehicle because this section was under construction at the time of the testing and much of the surface had been milled producing a rougher ride.
While poor highway surface conditions can be tolerated under most driving situations special consideration is required when environmental conditions worsen, when certain vehicle deficiencies or special characteristics exist, or full attention is not paid to the driving task. Expressways can carry as little as 20,000 vehicles per day to as much as 100s of thousands in some areas approaching the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Thus the possibility that one in several thousand drivers might experience a problem due to road surface conditions cannot be insignificant since, multiplied by the large number of travellers, safety could be compromised beyond acceptable limits for many drivers.
During the hours of approaching winter storms roadway maintenance personnel have been given the legislated right (via Provincial Minimum Maintenance Standards) to withhold patrols of ice and snow removal until a certain level of deterioration has been reached. But ice and snow are not the full extent of roadway dangers. Various potholes, patches, depressions, ruptures and similar deficiencies exist as demonstrated in the motion data shown in this article. The level of danger of an accumulation of one inch of snow on the higher qualities of surface on Highway 401 is not the same as the level of danger on a poor quality of surface along the Westbound Highway 402. Yet there is no warning given of those differences in safety.
Funding has been given to systems such as “511Ontario” providing the public with internet features such as “Road Conditions”. But that information consists of advisements about extent of snow cover and reduced visibility, not about the physical condition of the hardtop pavement or concrete. 511Ontario also allows the public to follow the routes of snow plows. It is as if the Ontario government does not believe that deteriorated roads with potholes, patches, depressions, and ruptures can be a safety problem.
Let us provide this ridiculous example. A bank robber in a green shirt robs a bank and police watch his escape. A citizen asks “Why do you not chase him/”. The police reply “Because we only chase robbers in red shirts”. Does that make any sense?
Yet this is the logic that is used when the Ontario Government determines that the public will only be protected from a select group of dangers and not from others. Thus it is not OK to be killed by a snowy road surface but it is OK to be killed by a pothole in the road. When one of your family or friends is killed because they were unaware of a poor road surface condition will you be satisfied with this logic?
Charts of Expressway Road Surface Conditions Uploaded In February 5, 2020 Website Article