highway 427

Toronto's latest new highway has been sitting empty for months

There is a brand new highway in the GTA that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to create, but somehow not a single driver has been allowed to use it in the months since it's been completed.

The builders behind the Highway 427 expansion say that the thoroughfare has been ready for public use for some time now — work initially had an end date of Sept. 2020, which was pushed because of pandemic restrictions — but, according to the CBC, the Government of Ontario will not let it open due to "safety concerns."

The consortium behind the $616-million project is now going as far as suing the province for delaying the road's debut, which it says is a deliberate act to avoid having to pay the final chunk of money owed for its construction.

They also say that a road safety audit has found the roadway to be fully safe, functional and ready for drivers, but red tape from the province now prevents it from opening.

Infrastructure Ontario, meanwhile, told the public broadcaster that the extension "was not built to the specifications in the contract" and that there are thus some quality concerns — mainly things like water drainage and potential pooling.

Started in 2018, the extension runs 6.6 km from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Drive in Vaughan, adding three new exits to the arterial route that runs north-south out of and into T.O. and leads to Toronto Pearson International Airport.

As part of the project, existing parts of the 427 were also widened to lessen congestion, which like on many 400-series highways, has been an ongoing issue.

LINK427, which was responsible for the work, is also due to maintain the road for the next 30 years — but with this drama, and now litigation between it and the province, we'll have to see how that relationship pans out, as well as when the extension will actually end up opening as it sits unused.

Lead photo by

Adam Moss

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