Electronic speed limit signs here to stay

Electronic speed limit signs here to stay

Quebec City (Quebec) 21 April 2015 – Last September, the Quebec Minister of Transport set up several digital electronic speed limit signs along Robert Bourassa Boulevard and out on the number 20 highway at St-Michel-de-Bellchasse just east of Lévis. The whole idea was to have a flexible speed limit for these two areas as the traffic and weather conditions can cause havoc at certain times of the day.

The temporary signs were set up as a test run and the results were to be analysed this fall. The government has decided however, without analysing the final results that they are going ahead with the installation of permanent digital signs at a cost of around $1 million. A public tender has gone out to install 16 panels on Robert Bourassa Boulevard adding to the 8 which have already been set up in St. Michel de Bellechase. As it turns out, the cost for each sign comes out to about $60,000 each as compared to the old fashioned metal signs that cost about $50 each after installation.

The problem in Saint-Michel de Bellechase is the weather, especially in the winter months, when wind can sweep across the St. Lawrence River and cause complete white outs on the highway even when it is not snowing. There have been several fatal accidents at that particular section of highway. With the flexible speed limits the ministry can raise or lower the speed of traffic with the click of a mouse when the weather gets nasty. On Robert-Bourassa the problem is traffic volume at rush hour peaks when lane changing becomes an issue. By having variable controlled speed limits, the transport ministry hopes to reduce the number of accidents and to keep traffic moving, even if it means moving a bit slower.

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