highway 413

Ontario plans two new highways but people hate where they will be located

Ontario's plans to build two new highways — Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass — in the GTA could ease traffic jams, but many people don't like their proposed locations.

A proposal to build Highway 413 has been in the works for several years now, but the province just firmed up plans in their 2021 Fall Statement.

In 2020, the government announced the preferred route for Highway 413 and the highway would connect from Highway 407, west of Winston Churchill Boulevard, then north to Vaughan.

The Bradford bypass would be a new, 16.2-kilometre-long, four-lane freeway connecting Highway 400 and Highway 404 in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury and the Town of East Gwillimbury.

The government argues that the Greater Golden Horseshoe is one of the fastest growing regions in North America and is expected to attract one million new people every five years, reaching nearly 15 million by 2051.

They suggest these new residents will drive cars and need to travel across the city — despite the growing work from home trend.

"The people of Ontario have spent too much time facing traffic, gridlock and delays. Gridlock already costs the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) $11 billion per year in lost productivity," the report states.

Highway 413 is "expected to exceed 300,000 commutes per day while cutting commute times by up to 30 minutes."

The Bradford Bypass is proposed to alleviate traffic in Simcoe County and York Region, which is also expected to experience rapid growth.

What the government fails to mention is the cost for these new highways — which in some estimates is in the billions.

But more importantly is the loss of farmland and greenbelt protected areas. At a time when world leaders are gathered to take action against climate change, many argue that these plans seem short-sighted at best.

"If built, these highways would pave over farms, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt," says Environmental Defence. "Highway 413 alone would also add over 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, at a time when cutting emissions is more urgent than ever."

The Canadian advocacy organization, which works with government, industry and individuals to defend the environment, is planning a day of action against the two highways on Nov. 13.

The two highways are still in the planning stages.

There is no word on when construction would start on Highway 413. The future Bradford Bypass is expected to begin in fall 2022 and be completed by 2024.

Lead photo by

Clement Lo


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