Absence of centreline was failure by municipality to keep road in reasonable state of repair

Transportation - Highways and Streets - Maintenance and Repair

Plaintiff and defendant were travelling in opposite directions on rural, undivided, 18-foot wide, two-lane road with defendant beginning assent of hill as plaintiff crested hill and was beginning down grade. Defendant, who was driving large tractor, encroached on plaintiff’s lane and plaintiff was entirely in her lane, but was either touching or extremely close to centre line. At pass-by point, vehicles collided, and plaintiff died from her injuries. There were no pavement markings indicating centre of road or road’s edge. Township had commissioned road assessment of road, which determined that no improvements were needed, but pavement markings should be considered. Ontario Traffic Manual (“OTM”) recommended that on rural undivided highways such as road where collision occurred, there should be short segments of centre line marked along approaches to hill where sight distance was less than 150 metres. Defendant’s expert and township’s expert agreed that OTM required partial yellow centreline, but disagreed as to whether it would have extended through collision point. Plaintiff’s action against defendant had resolved. Defendant brought third party claim against township for contribution and indemnity. Third party claim dismissed. Centre-line was required on approaches to crest of hill and absence of centreline was failure by municipality to keep road in reasonable state of repair. However, collision was not caused but for absence of centreline.

Atkinson and Benedetti v. Cramahe (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 12902, 2019 ONSC 1404, S.J. Woodley J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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