for a mid-peninsula highway are on the move.
The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced Thursday it would broaden
the end connection options to be studied during an environmental assessment
of the proposed roadway.
"We have consulted and listened to the public and municipalities,"
Minister of Transportation Norm Sterling said of the new options list.
"Planning for transportation infrastructure now will ensure our
economic competitiveness in the future. We are committed to building
more efficient trade corridors that will ease congestion and move
people and goods more safely."
The highway is currently proposed to run from Niagara to Hamilton
before swinging east toward Toronto. End connection options on the
table include Hwy. 401 in Milton and Hwy. 407 in Burlington.
A third option would see the roadway connect with Hwy. 403, accompanied
by the widening of Hwy. 403 through Hamilton and Burlington.
An environmental assessment (EA) has yet to be conducted for the proposed
highway, leaving the exact route and end connection undecided. A terms
of reference for the EA is currently in development.
The MTO originally proposed the roadway connect to Hwy. 407, however
several concerns have come forward related to environmental issues
of such a connection and its impacts on Burlington.
A connection to Hwy. 6 was also discussed.
Area MPP Ted Chudleigh praised the newest option to widen Hwy. 403,
saying he believes it to be the most suitable solution at this time.
"It has a whole bunch of other bonuses for the city of Hamilton
-- it's pretty jammed up there now during rush hour," he told
"If you expanded it (Hwy. 403), it could be useful to Hamilton
and also useful as a second alternative to get to the Peninsula other
than relying on the Skyway."
Mayor Gord Krantz called the new options list "interesting,"
saying both council and Town staff will monitor the EA process closely.
"Wherever there's new roads, usually there's other things that
follow and you have to be prepared for that. When you start opening
up new areas of a community, it certainly does have long-range impacts
on growth," he said.
"There are a lot of unknowns at this point in time. This may
be just another test balloon. They (Province) seem to be sending up
quite a few of them to get public reaction."
Last week, the Milton administration and planning committee defied
a MTO request to select a preferred end connection option. Instead,
the committee endorsed a motion calling for an expanded transportation
plan that includes rail and other mass transit initiatives.
Town council was expected to address the committee motion last night,
but further information was unavailable as of press time.