Have you heard about the new highway that could go through Brampton? Initially proposed about a decade ago, it has been referred to as the “413 Highway,” but the official name for this new route is “GTA West Corridor.”
Here are five things you should know about the proposed project.
1. Where will it go?
The GTA West Expansion project is made up of two parts. The first would be a brand new freeway (the 413) that branches off from the existing 401-407 interchange in Milton, snakes northeast into Brampton at Embleton/Winston Churchill, go straight north roughly in between Mississauga Road and Winston Churchill, then curve to become an east-west freeway above Mayfield Road, meeting up with the Highway 427 extension and Highway 400. The second major part would be an extension of Highway 410 to meet up with the 413.
The 413 would be a four or six lane highway, with freight priority measures, and a parallel public transit road to be built alongside it.
The actual alignment hasn’t been chosen, though one can see all potential alignments here.
2. The business community wants it
According to the GTA West website, there will be 100,000 new residents and 80,000 new jobs added each year in the Greater Golden Horseshoe between now and the year 2031. This could mean 1.5 million additional trips (by cars and trucks) per day in the GTA West area by then. If nothing happens to accommodate this increase, average commuter times could increase by 27 minutes a day.
Many businesses are in favor of this highway because it will address the need to move their product in the west GTA as well as regions beyond. This would accommodate “just-in-time” delivery for goods movement.
Proponents of the highway also point to greater connectivity between urban growth centres as well as residential and employment lands.
3. Some residents are against it
Some residents are worried about the environmental impact and the lack of investment in local transit. One resident, Elo Doner of the Etobicoke Creek Residents Association, says “A new highway like this would destroy large parts of the greenbelt and farmland and would not do much to solve traffic problems. We are now going through an era of collective transportation where cars’ days are numbered. It would be wiser to invest in collective means of transportation.”
A group called “Stop the 413” has a petition for residents opposed to the highway. They argue the highway would pave thousands of acres of Canada’s best farmland, damage forests and natural areas, degrade the Credit River and Humber River watersheds (a source of drinking water) and cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
4. The project stalled in 2015
Steven Del Duca of the Provincial Transportation Ministry announced the project was being suspended in December 2015 in order to look at recent changes in government policies and emerging technologies.
At that time, a new panel was created to review all work done on the project since 2007. This panel was headed by Gail Beggs, a former Deputy Minister for the Ontario Public Service. The other two members are Rod Northey, an environmental lawyer and partner in the Toronto office of Gowling WLG; and Dr. Matthias Sweet, an Assistant Professor at Ryerson University, with research interests in transportation policy, land use planning and urban economics.
The panel is reviewing plans for the highway in light of Ontario’s ongoing investments in public transit and transportation infrastructure, the Climate Change Action Plan, changes to the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, and the rise of car sharing services and automated car technologies. The panel has requested the input from municipalities, indigenous communities, interested stakeholders and the general public to assist with the decision-making process.
5. The current status
In March of this year, the term of the three-person GTA West Advisory panel was extended until April 2018. Del Duca says this will allow them additional time to complete their report. When that report is done the Ministry will be able to decide the fate of the project.