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Class action lawsuit authorized in Highway 13 fiasco

The Gazette logo The Gazette 2017-11-14 Montreal Gazette
111417-no_object-1115_city_classaction-W.jpg © Pierre Obendrauf  

A Superior Court judge has given the green light to a class action suit after hundreds of motorists were left stranded on Highway 13 during a snowstorm last March.

The lawsuit launched by motorist Gilles Beauchamp, who was trapped on the highway for seven hours beginning at 8 p.m. March 14, names the Quebec government and the city of Montreal as defendants.

The suit contends the province and city failed in their duty to properly manage the traffic jam, which was caused after two trucks became stuck in the snow and ice and their drivers refused to be towed.

The suit is seeking $2,000 for each of the approximately 500 motorists trapped on the highway during the time it took to unclog the thoroughfare amid a breakdown in emergency services communications.

In Quebec City, Transport Minister André Fortin said his comments on the case would be limited because it is before the courts, but he said Quebec has acted to correct the problem.

“We don’t ever want to see a situation like what happened on Highway 13 ever happen again in Quebec,” Fortin told reporters. “That’s why we are putting measures in place.

“I already visited twice the 24-7 traffic control centre in Montreal and in Quebec City to make sure they have the right tools in place so a situation like this does not happen again.”

Fortin said additional teams are being put in place across Quebec and Quebec is now requiring any new contractor working for the government to equip itself with GPS locators so officials can track how many snow plowing trucks are on the road and their location.


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