A stretch of Highway 401 west of Chatham will be a challenge for motorists until the leaves are falling, which is why police say drivers need to be extra careful when passing through it in the months ahead.
The westbound lanes of the highway are closed between Merlin Road and County Road 42.
That has led to traffic being moved onto the eastbound side of the highway, with one lane being used for each direction.
The temporary changes to the highway mean that drivers have less space to manoeuvre than they usually do.
“Each lane is a fairly narrow passage,” OPP Const. Janine Belanger said in a telephone interview with CBC Radio’s Afternoon Drive.
“Sure there’s enough room for regular-sized vehicles to pass through, but they do have to really pay attention and keep their eyes on the road the entire time.”
Belanger said commercial vehicles “are having a bit more of a challenge,” particularly those carrying a wide load.
One such truck with a wide load became stuck in that stretch this week, a situation that Belanger said led to a two-hour road closure as police scrambled to free it.
“We had to be very creative in finding a solution to get that vehicle off the road,” she said.
Drivers: watch that fuel gauge
Belanger said drivers are advised to ensure they have ample fuel in their tank when driving this stretch for the foreseeable future.
“We’re urging motorists to make sure that you have at least [a] half-tank of fuel in your vehicle,” she said. “We did have an incident where somebody ran out of fuel. And that caused traffic delays, we had to get the vehicle off the flow of traffic, off the roadway.”
With less space available in their lanes, Belanger said drivers also need to ensure they leave enough time to react to sudden stops in this part of the highway.
“You want to have that reaction time [and] keep a lot of distance between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you,” she said.
The constable said drivers can use alternate routes to get around the affected stretch of 401 if they want to avoid it.