What are Emergency Detour Routes?
Emergency Detour Routes (EDR) are permanent detours marked by orange signs that help guide residents throughout the City of Ottawa in the event that Highways 417 and 416 and Ottawa Road 174 need to be shut down due to an incident.
EDRs will lead motorists through Ottawa arterial roadways in an efficient way and are designed to:
- keep traffic moving;
- aid drivers who are unfamiliar with Ottawa roads
- prevent heavy trucks from using inappropriate streets
This will reduce the impact on streets not intended to handle heavier loads or traffic volumes.
Most interchanges along Highway 417 and Ottawa Road 174 have an eastbound and westbound detour.
Each Highway 416 interchange has a northbound and southbound EDR option.
Ottawa’s EDRs were designed by the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), Ontario Provincial Police, the City of Ottawa Public Works Department, and Ottawa Police Service, in consultation with the Traffic Incident Management Group – a working group consisting of representatives from traffic operations and emergency services across the National Capital Region.
Installation of the EDR signs will be completed by June 2011. All signs were provided by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and are installed and maintained by the City of Ottawa.
How an EDR works
This sign will be visible on the highway near the interchange.
These signs are used to guide motorists along the designated route and back onto the highway.
The Ontario Provincial Police (for Highways 416 and 417) and Ottawa Police Services (for Ottawa Regional Road 174) are the only authorities that can close a highway. The Ministry of Transportation and the City of Ottawa’s Public Works Department manage the traffic displaced by the closures and allow emergency services to focus on the incident.
The Emergency Detour Routes are activated under the authority of the OPP and Ottawa Police. The Traffic Incident Management Group (TIMG) will provide ongoing public notification on the location and the impact of the incident and anticipated duration of any closure. The TIMG is made up of representatives from the City of Ottawa Public Works Department, MTO, Quebec Ministry of Transportation, the Ottawa Police Service, Gatineau Police Service, RCMP, Ontario Provincial Police and Sûreté du Québec as well as OC Transpo, Fire and Paramedic Services from Ottawa and Gatineau.
Frequently asked questions
- Why do we need Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs)?
To provide motorists with a pre-determined route when Highways 416 and 417 and Ottawa Regional Road 174 are closed. EDRs help keep traffic moving, aid drivers who are unfamiliar with local roads, and prevent heavy trucks from using inappropriate streets.
- When are emergency highway closures necessary?
These unscheduled closures are required when a highway is physically impassable, such as a motor vehicle incident, or when emergency work cannot be performed in traffic.
- How long will a road closure (EDR) be in place?
Most incidents normally require approximately two to three hours to clear however the duration of a highway closure will vary depending on the extent and nature of the incident.
- Who decides when the highway should be closed or opened?
The police have the authority to close highways. An officer at the incident will determine when to reopen the highway and deactivate the Emergency Detour Route (EDR).
- I have a large truck carrying an oversized or overweight load. Can I use the Emergency Detour Route (EDR)?
No. Oversized or overweight loads travel under permit-defined routes and are not permitted on any other route. The police will direct you to park in a safe location on the highway until it reopens.
- I live in an area that the Emergency Detour Route (EDR) goes through. How will I be affected?
While the Emergency Detour Route (EDR) is activated there will be an increase in traffic on the designated route. This might also include more trucks. Local police or municipal staff might be present to direct traffic at key intersections and monitor the use of the Emergency Detour Route (EDR).
- How are the Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs) selected?
Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs) are developed by the municipality with the MTO and the police. They are based on several factors including travel time and a route's ability to efficiently accommodate increased traffic volumes.
Adopted from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
For additional information or questions about Emergency Detour Routes please contact the Traffic team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 3-1-1.