Emergency Detour Route
The Emergency Detour Routes, originally Emergency Diversion Routes (EDR), are a system of temporary detour routes paralleling many major highways in Ontario. Most of these follow county or municipal roads within the province that are not (currently) provincially controlled (though many were former provincial highways). These routes are designed to be used in the event of a closure on a major road or 400-series highway, such as construction or a serious automobile collision.
Though most EDRs are set up along 400-series highways, a select few have been established along two lane King's Highways, notably Highway 21 due the lake effect of Lake Huron, which can result in sudden snowsquall conditions during the winter.
There are two types of signage along the routes. Near the beginning of an EDR, usually the off ramps of interchanges in the case of 400-Series Highways, are large rectangular signs. An orange bar at the top contains the text, in black writing, Emergency Detour Route. Below that, the sign is white and shows the highway or freeway that the route serves, as well as a portion of the second sign to indicate to drivers what to watch for.
The second sign is orange (indicating it is a temporary condition type of sign), with a black circle inside, containing the letters "EDR" in white. Below that the route that the EDR serves is indicated, as well as an arrow at intersections indicating whether or not to turn.
Halton was the first jurisdiction in Ontario to create EDRs, although it initially referred to them as Emergency Diversion Routes. In August 1999, the regional council approved the preparation of the Road Closure Action Plan (RCAP), which was developed with input from the Halton Regional Police Services and the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO). The RCAP utilized folding signs that police could open to "activate" the route. Similar in appearance to the EDR signs of today, the RCAP signs featured a trapezoid shaped orange EDR sign, as opposed to an orange square with a black circle containing the letters EDR. These signs were first deployed along a limited stretch of the Queen Elizabeth Way in March 2001, between Dorval Drive and Trafalgar Road in Oakville and between Bronte Road and Burloak Drive in Burlington, both the location of major ravines with limited alternative crossings.
By the spring of 2003, when the deployment of the system was complete, the entire Queen Elizabeth Way, Highway 401 and Highway 403 had diversion routes within Halton Region. Following Halton's tests, the MTO and the Ontario Good Roads Association formed a joint task force, and using the RCAP as a model, developed the Emergency Detour Route program.
- Murphy, Patrick (February 17, 2004) (PDF). Ministry of Transportation’s Emergency Detour Route Guidelines and Best Practices Initiative (Report). Regional Municipality of Halton. http://sirepub.halton.ca/cache/2/5hhoulmsylxxhriotot1yh45/1397509142011085714346.PDF. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
- Legall, Paul (February 9, 2001). "Halton Key to Unlocking Traffic Gridlock; Will Test Redirection Schemes for Other Cities". The Hamilton Spectator (Torstar). p. A02. Unknown parameter
- Murphy, Patrick (September 25, 2002) (PDF). Halton Region Road Closure Action Plan (RCAP) Update: Phases 2 and 3 (Report). Regional Municipality of Halton. http://sirepub.halton.ca/cache/2/5hhoulmsylxxhriotot1yh45/1366009142011093046652.PDF. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
- City of Ottawa. Ottawa Gets Emergency Detour Routes. Accessed on September 15, 2011.
- Emergency detour routes help drivers get out of park. Accessed on September 15, 2011.
- United Counties to Establish 401 and 416 Emergency Detour Routes (EDRs). Accessed on September 15, 2011.
- Emergency Detour Routes Show Drivers the Best Route When the Highways Close. Accessed on September 15, 2011.