It’s no secret that roads and highways in Halton are congested, and now, a halted highway project is back on the move — and it might go through a part of Halton.
The GTA West Highway project, informally known as Highway 413, had been stalled by Minister of Transportation Steven Del-Duca for two years since December 2015 pending a Stage 2 Environmental Assessment. A route is still being confirmed, but the highway aims to connect such growth areas as downtown Brampton, downtown Milton, Vaughan, and more.
The GTA West could also provide a more direct route from here to cottage county, cutting through the Greenbelt.
The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) put up a quiet announcement about the new 400-series highway project on Nov. 27. According to the MTO, the advisory panel that had been appointed to review the GTA West project has finally completed its advice and submitted a report, which encompasses Stage 2 of the highway’s Environmental Assessment.
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“Stage 2 of this study focuses on the recommendation for a new transportation corridor extending from Highway 400 in the east to the Highway 401/407 ETR interchange area in the west, that includes a 400-series highway, transitway, and potential goods movement priority features,” says the MTO.
The MTO says the public should have an update on the proposed highway by the end of January.
The planned highway is represented by the dotted red lines in the graphic — it runs through Peel, Halton, and York Region, ultimately from Milton to Vaughan, with a possible interchange to the 427 with the northbound extention of the route.
The project team is using a 120 kilometres per hour design speed, and the new highway could be four to six lanes wide, with a 110 metre right-of-way and an adjacent transitway with a 60 metre right-of-way according to the MTO.
Over all, the study area is over 50 kilometres long and runs through 10 municipalities for the entire GTA West corridor, according to the MTO. The entire corridor aims to reduce travel times and increase goods movement across the planned area.
“100,000 people and 80,000 jobs will be added per year in the Greater Golden Horseshoe between 2011-2031,” says the MTO. “This will result in approximately 1.5 million additional trips (cars and trucks) per day in the GTA West study area by the year 2031. Without changes, by 2031 the average commuter times are expected to increase by 27 minutes a day.”
The stats are likely much higher now that it’s 2017, six years after those numbers were collected.
Of course, this new major highway comes with a massive cost for taxpayers.
According to Dufferin-Caledon MPP Sylvia Jones, since 2007, “the government has spent $14.5 million on an incomplete Environment Assessment and the expert review panel of the GTA West Corridor.”
It’s true that the PC party has committed to expediting the progress of the highway if they’re elected, according to their platform policy #R27. More specifically, the party aims to “end the wait and delay and complete the Environmental Assessment for the GTA West Corridor.”
According to the Ontario Greenbelt Alliance, the entire project could cost as much as $5 billion.
The full Environmental Assessment is currently expected to be completed next year, and the MTO is expected to move forward with the new 400-series highway.
We’ll provide updates as they become available.