Niagara-GTA Highway: Considering the Options

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February 8, 2013

We are very fortunate to live in Burlington for a number of reasons including access to major highways. The QEW, 403 and 407 all dissect Burlington.

Each day, $480 million of goods are transported over the Burlington Skyway and $476 million of goods travel on the QEW through Burlington and Oakville. Each year over $58 billion of goods cross the Niagara Border.

We all know that the congestion on these roads continues to be an issue for the movement of people and goods.

The Ministry of Transportation for the Province of Ontario has been studying transportation challenges in the Niagara, Hamilton and Halton areas for 13 years, looking for a long term solution to the issue. With these areas growing by 38% more residents and 40% more jobs, the transportation challenge is only going to increase.

After 13 years of work, the province is not in a position to recommend long term solutions because of the tremendous complexity and challenges that exist with each alternative.

The province has analyzed 6 different options and have ended with 3 that make some sense. One of them includes adding a 4 lane highway from the 403 in Ancaster to the 407 in Burlington in the area of Walker’s Line. They state that this “adequately addresses major transportation areas” with some congestion relief to Hwy 403/Hamilton, QEW/Burlington Skyway, and QEW/Halton.

However the community and environmental impact would be significant. Eight homes in Waterdown would be affected along with 24 residences and 5 multi-storey apartment buildings in Hamilton. The new corridor would be entirely in the Greenbelt and has the highest impact to prime agricultural lands. This would significantly impact the character of our local rural areas.

Another option would see a 4 lane highway from the 403 west of Ancaster to the 401 around Campbellville. This option provides the greatest relief to key transportation problem areas. However, the environmental impacts would be significant and so would the impact on prime agricultural land.

In the medium term, the Ministry of Transportation is recommending the addition of 2 lanes to the QEW between Hamilton and Niagara, 2 lanes to the 403 through Hamilton, 2 lanes to Hwy 6 between the Hamilton Airport and 403 and 2 lanes to the 407 from the QEW/403 through Burlington and Oakville.

This issue is one great example of the complexity of the transportation, environmental and economic issues that governments have to deal with.

For more information, I encourage you to attend a Public Information Centre hosted by the Ministry of Transportation on Tuesday Feb. 12 between 4 and 8 pm at the Holiday Inn, Burlington. We need as much input on this as possible.

Niagara-GTA Corridor Planning & Environmental Assessment Study: PIC #5

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