The Greater Golden Horseshoe is one of the fastest-growing regions in North America. It is expected to attract 1 million new people every five years, reaching nearly 15 million by 2051. That’s a population increase of more than 50 per cent compared to today. As the region continues to grow and remains Canada’s economic engine, the number of trucks on the road is expected to double by 2051.
Congestion already costs Ontario billions in lost productivity, adds to the costs of goods and creates harmful carbon emissions. Without new infrastructure to help move people and goods, the region will quickly become overwhelmed.
Simcoe County’s population is expected to increase to 416,000 by 2031, with the Regional Municipality of York growing to 1.79 million by 2041. The proposed Bradford Bypass would help address the expected population growth and additional travel demand in the area.
In particular, the Bradford Bypass would relieve congestion on existing east-west local roads and provide a northern freeway connection between Highway 400 and Highway 404. Drivers travelling between Highways 400 and 404 would be able to make the trip up to 60 per cent faster compared to existing routes, saving up to 35 minutes each way.
Building infrastructure is a critical part of Ontario’s long-term economic plan, and even more important to our economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bradford Bypass would create jobs during construction and once completed would help connect people to major employment centres and attract more businesses to the area, creating and sustaining good local jobs.
As a major freeway connection, the Bradford Bypass would also help goods travel faster to — and through — the Greater Toronto Area, significantly boosting Ontario and Canada’s economy. Ontario’s trucking industry accounts for about 4 per cent of Ontario’s GDP, and approximately 40 per cent of the jobs in the transportation sector. More than $785 million of goods per day move on Ontario’s highways, making the transportation system the backbone of our export-driven economy.
A new highway could help Ontario promote and adopt new state-of-the art technologies. For example, the highway could be designed with dedicated areas for electric vehicle charging stations, to encourage more people to choose cleaner transportation options.
It could also be built to enable vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, a critical technology for the next wave of automated vehicles. Driving innovation and creating a competitive business environment are central parts of Ontario’s plan for the future of the automotive industry. The automated and connected vehicle industry is a global market expected to be worth more than $1.3 trillion by 2035. Positioning our province as leader in the industry will ensure that the auto sector continues to grow, thrive and invest right here in Ontario.
The Greenbelt Act was introduced in 2005 to help shape the future of the GGH. The Province recognizes the importance of the Greenbelt to many Ontarians.
The Greenbelt Plan identifies where urbanization should not occur in order to protect agricultural lands and environmentally sensitive lands. The Greenbelt Plan permits infrastructure, including highways, where it supports the significant growth and economic development expected in southern Ontario beyond the Greenbelt by providing connections among urban centres. New and expanded infrastructure proposed for the Greenbelt must meet certain environmental conditions that take into account the sensitive nature of Greenbelt lands.
The Greenbelt Plan recognizes that infrastructure is important to Ontarians’ economic well-being, human health, and quality of life. The Bradford Bypass transportation corridor will put people to work, help Ontario’s businesses remain competitive in an increasingly global marketplace, and make it easier for people to move around the GGH for work or leisure.
As part of the Preliminary Design, the project team will carefully consider all impacts and will continue to work with environmental agencies, municipalities and other concerned stakeholders to identify principles and recommendations for mitigating the impacts of placing new or expanded provincial highways within areas of the Greenbelt.
The project team will be consulting with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), as well as local farming communities throughout the Preliminary Design phase, and will be undertaking an Agricultural Impact Assessment (or equivalent study) in accordance with OMAFRA requirements. This assessment will identify potential impacts to farmlands and agricultural operations. Further mitigation, compensation and/or enhancement measures related to agriculture are being considered during the preliminary design phase of the study in consultation with stakeholders.
The Holland Marsh Provincially Significant Wetlands
The Holland Marsh Wetland Complex extends beyond the Bradford Bypass corridor and consists of over 3,000 hectares (ha) of designated wetland area. Currently, the Bradford Bypass corridor will cross approximately 10.75 ha, which accounts for only 0.35 per cent of the entire Provincially Significant Wetlands area.
As part of the Preliminary Design, the project team will carefully consider all impacts to wetland areas and will continue to work with environmental agencies, municipalities and other concerned stakeholders to identify principles and recommendations for mitigating the impacts of placing new or expanded provincial highways within wetland areas. The Preliminary Design will consider minimizing impacts to these wetland areas through engineering refinements.
As part of the Preliminary Design, the Ministry will consider various legislative requirements and consult with Transport Canada under the Canadian Navigable Waters Protection Act (CNWA) for the proposed crossings of the Holland River and East Holland River branch.
As part of the on-going consultation for the Project, the Project Team is seeking input from the public, Indigenous communities and key stakeholders to understand navigation uses to facilitate design development of the structures and support CNWA approvals requirements. A request for information was included in the Notice of Study Commencement materials that was sent to all stakeholders and is available on this site. The request asks stakeholders and members of the public to provide information about the types of vessels they use within the Holland River and the Holland River East Branch to protect the existing navigable function of these waterways.
The Ministry will work to minimize potential impacts to navigation and follow the process for Major Work over a Scheduled Waterway as prescribed in MTO’s Navigable Waters Guidelines, BRO-067 (2020). This process will include consultation with Transport Canada and further Indigenous and public consultation as the Project progresses through design into construction.
A Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Study for the proposed Highway 400 – Highway 404 Link (Bradford Bypass) has started.
Environmental Assessment (EA) Process
This Study will follow the approved planning process for a Group ‘A’ project under the MTO Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities (2000) (Class EA).
Get up-to-date information about project milestones, learn about opportunities to get involved and provide your input to the Project Team.