From The Gazette

Vaudreuil-Dorion

Update: Snow accumulation being investigated in Highway 30 death

Police are investigating whether a buildup of snow on the shoulder of Highway 30 could have caused a car to plunge off it Thursday, resulting in the death of a 32-year-old woman.

Golnaz Ghanean, 32, died after losing control of her car on Highway 30. The car plunged off an overpass and landed upside down on Harwood Rd. in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Sûreté du Québec Sgt. Ingrid Asselin said the woman lost control of her car while she was driving eastbound near kilometre 23 at about 10:10 a.m. Thursday.

Emergency workers had to cut the woman out of her car, a process that takes about a half hour, Asselin said. When she emerged, she had serious injuries and was sent to the Hôpital du Suroît in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, where she was declared dead.

The woman was the lone person in the car, and no other vehicles were implicated in the accident. Asselin said she didn’t know whether the road was icy, or if the woman was wearing her seat belt.

However, photos taken at the scene of the accident show there was a buildup of snow on the shoulder of the overpass, where the car slid off. Asselin said the SQ will be examining whether road conditions led to the woman’s death, as is the case in any road accident.

The area, formerly known as Highway 540, is now part of the new Highway 30 express route, which allows cars and trucks to bypass the island of Montreal. The highway was built, and is being maintained by a private company called A30 Express.

Sylvie Marier, a spokesperson for the company, said snow clearing has been done regularly throughout the route, and that snow buildup was not from the major storm from Dec. 27.

She added the highway was cleared from snow again on Thursday shortly after it was reopened after the accident, but couldn’t say whether that was done on orders from the SQ.

“We can see there was an accumulation on the shoulder,” Marrier said. “But at this point, we prefer not to comment, because the incident is being investigated.”

jmagder@montrealgazette.com
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29 comments

  1. Pingback: Woman killed after car plunges off Highway 30 overpass in Vaudreuil | West Island Gazette

  2. By Dave Fisher

    please explain how a car plunges off an overpass. There are guard rails, correct? was there snow piled on the side of the road? how does this happen? terrible reporting. leaves many questions unanswered.

    • By MontrealManny

      Snow falls. Scraper pushes snow to the side. Temperatures drop. Snow build-up hardens. This creates a “ramp” and vehicles losing control can slide off the overpass. It has happened before on the metroplitain. Tragic that lessons are not learned.

    • By claude lafond

      simple did you look at the embankment any car would of had the same result they had pushed the snow aside then later on in the days to come they normally remove the snow in order to make the guard rail available. did you not look a the photos.

  3. Should be easy to determine if the road was icy. Did the car go through the overpass guard rails? Was there snow piled up against the guard rails creating a ramp that allowed the car to go over the guard rails? The major snow storm was on December 27 so one would expect that any snow piled up against the guard rails would have been removed by now. Slow down when approaching overpasses as it is a well known fact that precipitation freezes more quickly on the overpass road surface than on the road surfaces leading to the overpass.

  4. By Terry F Charron

    How can this story be breaking news for so long? Why not dig deeper and find out how this happened? Was there snow piled up on the shoulder creating a ramp over the guard rails?

  5. This was a tragedy just waiting to happen…
    My husband and I traveled this route on Dec 30..weather was good and the road was clear but right from the toll
    bridge almost to Candiac we noticed the flatness of the terrain and the wind blowing across the highway,causing drifts…
    Something will have to be done before this becomes a dangerous trip…

  6. I just wonder, even if there was snow piled up against the guard rail, she must have still been going fast enough to “launch” off of the snow piled up, don’t you think? Anyways, may she RIP, it’s always sad to have a loss of life.

  7. By Nora Hague

    We travelled through that interchange a few hours before the accident. We commented to each other how well designed the new interchange is compared to the old; how the somewhat sharp U-curve leading to the A20-Harwood East had been widened and the radius of the curve increased; how we’ll the snow had been removed; and we managed to negotiate that very same curve without incident.
    The road is not at fault here. Drivers come in all varieties, some better than others. In this case, the driver/victim was responsible for her own demise.

  8. I drove over the overpass in question while the SQ was taking pictures. They had completely stopped all traffic on the 30 East for about 10-15 minutes.

    There car went off the right hand side of the road over the guardrail at what looked like a 40 degree angle to the guardrail. There was an accumulation of snow on an angle that looked like it could have made a ramp.

    I guess we’ll know more whent he report comes out.

  9. I’ll tell you why the company managing the highway won’t comment – because they are afraid of the potential liability. Basd on personal observations I can only conclude that this tragedy is a result of gross negligence. For example, I noticed that snow-banks created by snow-ploughs on overpasses (at the point where the overpass is directly over the highway) have been left unremoved. The snow is removed up to and after that point but not directly over the highway. It took me a while to figure it out but I finally concluded that it’s because the snow is removed not with trucks but by a snow-blower simply blowing it onto the sides of the road. Obviously, this can’t be done at the point where the overpass is directly over the highway because it would be dangerous for motorists on the highway. Two examples of this practice in my neighbourhood are the Ville-Marie and the St-Charles Boul. overpasses over highway 40. The Ville-Marie overpass is particularly dangerous because 1) the retaining wall, which was recently re-done, seems to me to be rather low (I wonder if it even meets governmental regulations) and the accumulated snow against it actually surpasses the height of the wall and forms a ramp up the wall and 2) the snow-bank is where the overpasses sharply curves, furthering the likelihood of a car losing control and heading straight for the bank. This is obviously a cost-saving solution on the part of the snow-removal agencies. If only a limited number of trucks are available, they should at least be assigned to the highest risk areas first – not the most convenient areas. A similarly tragic accident occured with loss of life on the Metropolitan Highway several years ago. Thereafter, it seemes that particular attention was given to this problem for a while but the lesson seems to have been forgotten – until now. What a shame that we have to always wait for loss of life before deciding to do things properly. We must revisit the overpasses and determine whether the height of the walls are sufficiently high for this climate and we have to reassign priorities with respect to urgent snow-removel according to the level of risk to users. Sadly, this is another example of the shoddy, unprofessional, corrupt and dangerous pratcices regarding road construction and maintenance in this province.

  10. By Reza Hadian

    As far as I’m concerned she wasn’t a careless driver. The ‘investigation’ doesn’t bring her back to her family. However, I hope at least it stops the disasters like this in future.
    Golnaz we miss you.

  11. She was my family,all of our family are deeply sorry for this lost,the company should take responsibility to remove all the snow off the road and not just explain unacceptable story’s,we lost Golnaz,she was an angel,she was young and lovely,god bless her

  12. By belingrad

    Seriously?? They are asking if she has her seatbelts on? How audacious can they be? They’d resort to anything to put off the responsibility… it’s a young woman’s life lost here that nothing would bring comfort to her family after this…
    If she had fallen out of the window and passed away cause of that, the seatbelt question would be one to ask (which is still unlikely… the car beeps your head off when you don’t have a seatbelt on), but her car toppled over because it hit a pile of snow/ice on the side of the road… what does this have to do with seatbelts??

  13. Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.
    She was my niece’sbest friend and I did not know her personally. But it broke my heart to see my niece deeply effected by her passing. May she rest in peace :(

  14. I can’t believe it. One year ago on January 3rd 2012′, we were in the same plane from Iran to Montreal . I thought that day how nice it is when you have your high school friend in your city . A feel of having a close family member, like a sister. Goli I miss you…. I can’ imagine that on 3rd January 2013 , exactly the same day I lose you.

  15. I can’t imagine what Golnaz’s family have been going through , this is a terrible loss of a young life. I wish this issue gets investigated in more details to avoid such calamaties in the future.

  16. Although nothing can bring her back , but the company operating this highway should be taught a serious lesson ,to understand this is the precious life of drivers and passengers they are dealing with.

  17. heh!! Is it Canada? Is it a first world country? What the hell is going on here? A family has lost a young lady and they want to investigate for WEEKS???????? What they want to discover? I think this is just mandatory delay in the process. That’s not the complicated issue. That’s the irresponsibility of the company or anyone who had to remove the snow off the bridge. If this story would be ignored without any response from the company and following up by the government, we as a Canadian citizen will not stay and watch. We are paying over 30% tax and this is the story in this country?!!!!!

  18. I very much liked Amy’s comment. I am deeply sorry for this accident and loss. I can imagine what Golnaz’ family and her husband have been going through. I lost my causin’s dauther, who was just 19, in a car accident in 2009 and I know how this feels.
    I wish victim’s family patience and hope they can cope with this tragedy, one day.

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