West Quebec MNAs push for Highway 50 widening as death toll mounts

Just six days prior to the latest deadly collision on Highway 50, six MNAs from west Quebec urged Minister of Transport Laurent Lessard to make the widening of the highway a "regional priority."

6 west Quebec MNAs asking province to widen highway where 8 deadly collisions took place

The crash on Highway 50 near Grenville-sur-la-Rouge happened around 10:30 Sunday morning. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada)

Just six days prior to the collision on Highway 50 that killed a man on Sunday morning, six MNAs from west Quebec urged Minister of Transport Laurent Lessard to make the widening of the highway a "regional priority." 

Highway 50, which connects the Ottawa-Gatineau region to Montreal, has been the scene of eight fatalities since it opened in 2012. 

Liberal MNA Alexandre Iracà from Papineau, Que., and five other MNAs signed a letter on Jan. 30 asking Lessard to include the widening of Highway 50 in Quebec's official infrastructure plan as soon as possible. The letter specifies that the highway was built on the basis of possible expansions. 
Papineau MNA Alexandre Iracà (left), Transport Minister Laurent Lessard (centre), and Argenteuil MNA Yves St-Denis (right). (National Assembly of Quebec)

Statistics show that traffic flow has doubled in some sections of the highway since its opening, according to Iracà. He said about 75 kilometres of the highway should be expanded, which is estimated to cost about $113 million.

The signatories of the letter are Alexandre Iracà (Papineau), Stéphanie Vallée (Gatineau), Maryse Gaudreau (Hull), Marc Carrière (Chapleau), André Fortin (Pontiac) and Yves St-Denis (Argenteuil).

Iracà said the letter is a "good start" and the beginning of a long process ahead.

"Minister Laurent Lessard is very sensitive to the safety of road users and has been very attentive to our request," he said in a French statement last Friday. 

On Monday, Lessard issued a statement saying the ministry is closely following the growth of traffic on Highway 50, and has taken numerous steps to improve its safety since 2012. 

"Every death on our roads is one too many, and we regret the accident that took place this weekend," he said in the statement, also in French.