The Ford Government has apparently done the math and decided there are more commuters looking for faster ways of getting to work than there are highway expansion opponents. Today in Bradford, the Premier announced the Ontario government is advancing planning for the Bradford Bypass, a new four-lane freeway connecting Highway 400 and Highway 404 in Simcoe County and York Region. The government says both regions are expected to experience rapid growth over the next 10 to 20 years and investing in this new corridor is required to ease congestion on Highway 400 and existing east-west local roads.
“With both Simcoe County and York Region expected to grow at incredible speed, building the Bradford Bypass is a no-brainer,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Delivering on this and other important infrastructure projects will create good jobs, help stimulate our economy and reduce highway congestion as our government delivers on our mission of building Ontario.”
The Bradford Bypass and the proposed Highway 413 that will run east-west across Peel and Halton regions were both referenced in the Economic Update by Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy last week. The accouchement triggered a wave of negative comments from environmental groups, but the government calculation seems to be that those groups don’t normally vote PC anyway.
Highway 413 and the Mid Peninsula highway had been on the government’s planning horizon for almost 20 years, but the McGuinty Government cancelled both projects.
In a release the government the Bradford bypass support more than 700 jobs per year on average during construction and generate more than $70 million in annual real GDP. Motorists and trucks are anticipated to see more than a 60 per cent savings in travel time when using the new freeway compared to existing routes along local roads, which will save up to 35 minutes.
The government has invested approximately $2.6 billion in funding for 2021–22 in support of the Ontario Highways Program, which features more than 580 expansion and rehabilitation projects including the Bradford Bypass.
The proposed highway will extend from Highway 400 between 8th Line and 9th Line in Bradford West Gwillimbury, will cross a small portion of King Township and will connect to Highway 404 between Queensville Sideroad and Holborn Road in East Gwillimbury.
A Preliminary Design and environmental assessment is expected to be completed by December 2022.