Ottawa

Families of crash victims urge Quebec to move faster on Highway 50 widening

Loved ones of people who have died in crashes along an undivided stretch of Highway 50 in west Quebec are calling on the province to move more quickly to widen and divide the roadway.

'The worst part is that nothing changes'

Émanuel Thérien believes his girlfriend Élisabeth Brosda would still be alive if Highway 50 was widened and divided. (Radio-Canada)

Loved ones of people who have died in crashes along an undivided stretch of Highway 50 in west Quebec are calling on the province to move more quickly to widen and divide the roadway.

Earlier this month Québec's National Assembly unanimously passed a motion to do just that, and to do so in a timely manner. It came after six politicians signed a letter asking Transport Minister Laurent Lessard to make the highway widening a regional priority.

After the motion was passed, Premier Philippe Couillard said the most dangerous sections will be handled first.

But funding is not yet in place and no timeline has been provided, leading Alexandre Iraca, who represents the provincial riding of Papineau, to say he'll continue to put pressure on the provincial government to move forward.

Put safety 1st, victim's father pleads

Amina-Sara Belahbib, 24, died in mid-November when the vehicle she was travelling in with her brother and mother was struck by an oncoming vehicle that had veered into their lane. The driver of the other vehicle was arrested but later released without charge.

Belahbib's brother and mother survived. They were driving home from a wedding when the crash occurred.

Her father, Mourad Belahbib, told Radio-Canada in French he's convinced his daughter would still be alive if the highway were divided, or if a concrete barrier were in place.

His daughter had just gotten married that summer and had finished her studies in international development at the University of Ottawa, Mourad Belahbib said.

He said he doesn't want any other fathers to suffer similar loss, and said governments should put the safety of their citizens first.

Amina-Sara Belahbib (left) was heading home from a wedding with her brother (right) and mother when the crash happened. They survived. She did not. (Photo courtesy Belahbib family)

'It breaks my heart every time'

Élisabeth Brosda, 21, died in September when the vehicle she was driving was struck, also by an oncoming vehicle that had veered into her lane. The driver of the other vehicle, 26-year-old Elsa Loiseau, also died.

Brosda's partner, Émanuel Thérien, was also in the crash but survived. He took a photo of the sunrise just a few minutes before the fatal collision, and said that if the highway had been widened or separated with a concrete barrier, Brosda would still be alive.

Thérien also said it's been hard to hear about subsequent fatalities on Highway 50.

"It breaks my heart every time I hear about them. The worst part is that nothing changes. ... It causes so much harm to people that don't deserve it. For sure, it's hard for me," he said.

Émanuel Thérien took this photo of Highway 50 from the passenger seat just minutes before the collision that claimed his girlfriend's life. (Émanuel Thérien)

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