Speed limits on stretches of three Ontario highways will increase to 110km/h as the province kicks off a two-year pilot project.

Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said Friday that the posted speed limits on highways 402, 417 and the QEW will be increased mid-September allowing the government to monitor traffic volumes and changes in driver behaviour.

The increases will affect Highway 402 from London to Sarnia, the QEW from St. Catharines to Hamilton, and Highway 417 from Ottawa to the Ontario-Quebec border.

“Safety is the government’s number one priority and each pilot location was carefully chosen based on a number of factors, including its ability to accommodate higher speed limits,” Yurek said.

Yurek said the additional safety measures such as increased signage and messaging will be posted along the 400-series highways. He cautioned drivers that other than the pilot project areas “the stated speed limit will be 100.”

The Progressive Conservative government will also lower the stunt driving threshold on those stretches of highway.

Drivers caught going 40km/h in a zone with a posted speed limit of 110km/h could see their licence suspended and car impounded for seven days and face street racing charges as well as six demerit points.

Highway speed limits in six other provinces such as Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have steadily increased to 110 km/h over the past two decades.

In British Columbia, speed limits were increased in 2014 to 120km/h but were quickly rolled back after politicians noted a corresponding increase in serious collisions on certain routes.

However, Brian Patterson with the Ontario Safety League noted that while excessive speed is a factor in many crashes, a higher speed limit would have “virtually no impact” if drivers pay attention and operate safely.

Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said he supports an “evidence-based review” of speed limits as long as safety is the top priority.

“Such a review must be driven be experts and not by Doug Ford’s need for immediate gratification,” Schreiner said in a statement.

Transportation officials say the pilot project is slated to begin Sept. 16th and will help inform the province’s future plans.

With files from The Canadian Press