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Ontario drivers will soon be able to drive a little faster on select parts of major highways.

Speed limits are set to increase in parts of Ontario along sections of Highway 416 south of Ottawa and sections of Highway 401 in eastern Ontario on Friday. 

Ten sections of provincial highways will see speed limits increase from 100 km/h to 110 km/h,in both the northern and southern regions.

The Ontario government first began consultations and launched a pilot program in 2019 to explore the possibility of increasing speed limits on provincial highways.

Six sections of highway in southern Ontario were permanently increased in 2022 and two others in northern Ontario were increased on a two-year trial basis.  

“Most of Ontario’s highways were originally designed to safely accommodate speed limits of 110 km/h and the data from our changes in 2022 shows they do just that,” said Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Prabmeet Sarkaria in April.

According to the Government of Ontario’s website, the change “builds on the safe and successful increase to six sections of provincial highways in 2022 and aligns with posted speed limits in other jurisdictions across Canada.”

The change taking effect on Friday will permanently increase the speed limit to 110 km/h for the majority of provincial highway sections, while the remainder will come into effect by the end of 2024.

“These evidence-based increases are a common-sense change to make life more convenient for Ontario drivers while bringing our highway speed limits in line with other Canadian provinces,” added Sarkaria. 

The changes will affect 36% or 860 kilometres of Ontario’s total provincial highway network.

Highways 400, 401, 415 and the Queen Elizabeth Way were all set at 70mph or 113 km/h until 1975 when it was reduced to 100 km/h due to the energy crisis. 

“All highway sections were selected based on their ability to safely accommodate higher speed limits. Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan have a maximum speed limit of 110 km/h, while in British Columbia, the maximum speed limit is 120 km/h,” reads the government release

Penalties for stunt driving will continue to apply at 150 km/h, even on the sections of highway which have been selected for speed increases. 

Stunt driving will now apply at 40 km/h over the posted speed limit.  

The speed increases will affect the following sections of provincial highways:

  • Hwy 401, Tilbury, extending the existing 110 km/h zone further east by 7 km
  • Hwy 401 from Hwy 35/115 to Cobourg (approximately 35 km)
  • Hwy 401 from Colborne to Belleville (approximately 44 km)
  • Hwy 401 from Belleville to Kingston (approximately 66 km)
  • Hwy 401 from Hwy 16 to Quebec boundary (approximately 107 km)
  • Hwy 403 from Woodstock to Brantford (approximately 26 km)
  • Hwy 403 from Brantford to Hamilton (approximately 14.5 km)
  • Hwy 406 from Thorold to Welland (approximately 13 km)
  • Hwy 416 from Hwy 401 to Ottawa (approximately 70 km)
  • Hwy 69 from Sudbury to French River (approximately 60 km)