highway 413

Ontario to move ahead with two controversial highways in spite of opposition

Plans are moving forward with two controversial Ontario infrastructure projects — Highway 413 and the Bradford Bypass.

Both highways were included in Premier Doug Ford's fall statement last year, and Ford just announced that his government (if reelected) would be moving forward with the two controversial highways.

"A province that is growing as fast as ours needs the transportation infrastructure to support it,: Ford said at a press conference Thursday. "That's why our government is saying yes to finally building badly needed new highways like the Bradford bypass and a new highway for Vaughn, Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga — the 413."

Highway 413 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 highways have both been deemed controversial.

Building Highway 413 would "pave over farm, forests, wetlands and a portion of the Greenbelt and cost taxpayers billions," Environmental Defense notes.

It would also add more than 17 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ford said the highways would add jobs and reduce gridlock.

"I know that you don't want to be trapped in gridlock for hours during your daily commute," he said.

But the Toronto Star found that the new roadway would hardly be congestion-free. By 2041, at its busiest times, the 413 would have an average travel speed of 55 km/h.

The Bradford Bypass is also poised to damage sensitive areas as it would cut through a portion of the Holland Marsh.

In response to environmental concerns, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney said "the Bradford bypass was subjected to the most comprehensive environmental assessment that we have in Ontario."

She added that they are currently updating the assessment.

"Everything that we do will be done in conformity with our environmental laws and regulations," she said.

While there are estimates the two highways could cost around $10 billion, the province has yet to put a price tag on the project.

Even as Ford touted the transportation and transit plan, the projects were still thin on details. Ford dodged the question when asked directly why he isn't revealing the cost of the two highways.

"Well, you know something we're building, we're pouring money into infrastructure, making sure that people get from point A to point B, we're seeing growth of 200,000 people a year coming here," he said in response to the question on costs.

The only figure he would put forward was that of the "$148 billion on infrastructure."

As the June election nears closer, Ontario residents can likely look forward to more of these non-announcement announcements.

Lead photo by

Clement Lo

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