Ontario’s transportation minister Caroline Mulroney announced on Thursday that the province will be moving forward with the Bradford Bypass, which will link Highway 400 and Highway 404.
“The previous Progressive Conservative government moved forward with the Bradford Bypass in the late 90s and early 2000s, and approved an environmental assessment back then, and so there was a proposed route at that time,” Mulroney told Global News on Friday.
“We’re picking up where the previous PC government left off, and we’ll be starting with that proposed route and taking a look at it, but I can’t speculate on any details about the route just because so much time has passed.”
When the Liberals came into office, Mulroney said, the project was put on hold, and now, the environmental assessment concluded by the previous PC government in 2002 needs to be updated.
“We’re going to be moving to the process of updating that EA, and all the different components will be determined through that process,” she said.
The Bradford Bypass will serve Bradford West Gwillimbury, East Gwillimbury and Georgina, Mulroney said, but there are many other communities along Highway 400 and Highway 404 that will benefit from the link.
“This is a very positive step for our community, which has been struggling with commuter traffic through our downtown core for decades,” Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor Rob Keffer said in a statement. “When we conducted a telephone poll in 2016, 85 per cent of residents favoured construction.”
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For people living in York-Simcoe, the Bradford Bypass is critical to improving quality of life, Mulroney said.
Mulroney said the Bradford Bypass is also important from an economic development standpoint. “We’ve got a lot of businesses in the area that…need to get their goods to market down in Toronto or up north or across the province, and traffic slows that down,” she said.
“It’ll help businesses in the area. It’ll also help businesses in the surrounding areas that are trying to move through the region.”
Mulroney said she’s been campaigning for the Bradford Bypass since she got elected.
“We are grateful to transportation minister Caroline Mulroney for her support of this project and her efforts to bring the link to fruition,” Keffer said in statement. “It’s been almost 40 years since the road was first proposed.”
Keffer said the link is also beneficial for people commuting between York Region, Simcoe County and Toronto.
“It is certainly my hope that we will see shovels in the ground as soon as practical and in a way that’s compliant with the environmental assessment,” Mulroney finished.