The Bradford Bypass is a new 16.3-kilometre, controlled access freeway connecting Highway 400 in the County of Simcoe and Highway 404 in the Regional Municipality of York.
When complete, the freeway will extend from Highway 400 between 8th Line and 9th Line in Bradford West Gwillimbury, cross a small portion of King Township and connect to Highway 404 between Queensville Sideroad and Holborn Road in East Gwillimbury. The project specific assessment of environmental impacts in accordance with Ontario Regulation 697/21: Bradford Bypass Project (O. Reg. 697/21), is currently underway and expected to be complete in 2023. The Route Planning study for the Bradford Bypass and the Environmental Assessment (EA) and Recommended Plan were previously completed by the ministry and approved in 2002.
The planning process for the 2002 approved EA narrowed down alternatives from a broad range of potential solutions to the concept ultimately selected as the Technically Preferred Route to a Planning level of detail. The study required gathering relevant information with respect to the existing and future conditions in the analysis area so that the impacts (both positive and negative) of each alternative could be compared under different environmental factors. To allow a satisfactory and comprehensive comparison to be made, information was gathered and grouped under five broad factors: Transportation, Natural Environment, Social Environment, Economic Environment, and Cultural Environment.
The evaluation to determine the Technically Preferred Route was carried out based on analytic data and consideration of input provided by the public, interest groups, and relevant government agencies. The evaluation process was divided into four stages:
Stage 1: Evaluation of 10 alternative sets comprised of 43 route segments
Stage 2: Evaluation of route segments carried forward
Stage 3: Further evaluation of the east section alternatives including future Highway 404 options to determine the Technically Preferred Route
Stage 4: Evaluation of alignment refinements to the Technically Preferred Route
The Technically Preferred Route, now the Bradford Bypass corridor under the current Preliminary Design Study, was selected through the Route Planning Study as the 2002 approved EA preferred alignment for a freeway in terms of highway network expansion, ease of construction, relationship to municipal land use planning, as well as having fewer negative impacts to residential and natural areas when compared to other options considered.
As part of the Preliminary Design study, alternate corridor locations for the highway are not being considered as the Technically Preferred Route for the Bradford Bypass was approved through the 2002 EA. The preliminary design phase will focus on the refinements to the Technically Preferred Route within the Study Area based on various factors. The Public Information Centre (PIC) #1 materials posted here, show the refinements and alternatives that were developed and shown for the Bradford Bypass mainline, freeway-to-freeway interchanges, as well as arterial/crossing road interchanges.
Significant population growth is projected for both Simcoe County (increase to 416,000 residents by 2031) and the Regional Municipality of York (increase to 1.79 million residents by 2041). The Bradford Bypass has been proposed as a response to this dramatic growth in population and travel demand in the area and the forecasted increase in congestion on key east-west roadways linking Highway 400 to Highway 404. Places to Grow: Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2019) enacted by the Government of Ontario identifies and supports planned transportation corridors which are required to meet projected travel demand needs, including the proposed Bradford Bypass.
This Preliminary Design study and project-specific assessment of environmental impacts, undertaken in accordance with Ontario Regulation 697/21, will continue to adhere to all relevant new and existing provincial and federal legislation, including, but not limited to, Endangered Species Act, Greenbelt Plan, Heritage Act, Fisheries Act, Species at Risk Act, etc. In addition, MTO is undertaking various studies to update and document existing conditions, identify, and evaluate potential impacts of the Project and develop of mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts and meet current environmental legislative requirements such as the Lake Simcoe Protection Act/Lake Simcoe Protection Plan.
Three (3) Public Consultation Sessions (PCSs) were held at the following key project milestones during the 2002 approved EA study to provide members of the community an opportunity to comment on the study findings made by the Project Team:
- Preparation of the draft Environmental Assessment Proposal (EAP) (early 1993)
- Identification of Route Alternatives (mid-1994)
- Analysis, Evaluation and Selection of the Technically Preferred Route (late 1996)
Public consultation and engagement will continue throughout the study
Consultation is ongoing process, which is an integral and critical component to a project’s success. The Project Team strives to provide consultation opportunities that are inclusive, timely and provide stakeholders with the ability to provide meaningful input to the outcome of the study. Engagement and consultation include:
- Access to general information and consultation through the Project Website (bradfordbypass.ca);
- Access to general communication through Project Telephone Line (1-877-247-6036);
- Inclusion on the Project Contact List to receive regular project updates and to have the Project Team consult with the correct individuals;
- Receive email communications and contact the Project Team through a dedicated Project email address (ProjectTeam@bradfordbypass.ca);
- Receive project specific Mailings and notifications (via physical mail or email);
- Newspaper advertisements;
- Two Public Information Centres throughout the study (PIC #1 held April & May 2021 and PIC #2 anticipated for Fall 2022);
- Preliminary Design Interchange Considerations – Consideration for and the review of alternatives for interchanges at 10th Sideroad and 2nd Concession Road; and,
- Indigenous community information centres, and meetings and correspondence with Chiefs and Councils, or their delegates, as requested
The preliminary design and project specific assessment of environmental impacts for the Bradford Bypass Project is anticipated to be completed in 2023. Detail design and construction phases will follow.
The Early Works Design-Build contract for County Road 4 was awarded to Brennan Paving & Construction Ltd. on April 5, 2022, to construct a bridge crossing in Simcoe County for the new freeway. Construction is anticipated to start in fall 2022. It is anticipated that the bridge will be open to traffic by late fall 2024.
Information about the study will be available on this project website (www.BradfordBypass.ca) and updated on a regular basis. The ‘Contact Us’ tab provides various options to contact the Project Team to provide comments/questions.
MTO will work directly with individual property owners regarding direct impacts to their property as a result of the Project once the impacts have been confirmed.
The design and future construction of the bridges over the Holland River and Holland River East Branch is anticipated to either avoid and / or mitigate impacts and disruption to navigability within the rivers. Stakeholders are asked to provide information on their current navigability (timing, types of vessels, etc.), so this information is factored into the design and construction staging to meet the requirements under the Canadian Navigable Water Act and consultation with Transport Canada.. Please provide any input you may have to the Project Team via the Project Team email email@example.com or call us at 1-877-247-6036.
MTO is undertaking an Air Quality Impact Assessment and Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment to update and document existing conditions, identify, and evaluate potential impacts of the Project and recommend mitigation measures to reduce potential impacts and meet current environmental legislative requirements. Summaries of the assessments of potential impacts as part of the Bradford Bypass will be provided in the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR) which will be made available for public and agency review.
On October 7, 2021, Ontario Regulation 697/21: Bradford Bypass Project (O. Reg. 697/21) came into effect to exempt the Bradford Bypass Project from the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. The regulation sets a streamlined assessment process going forward and for continued environmental protection and consultations for the Bradford Bypass Project and associated Early Works.
The Project Team will continue to carry forward previous environmental commitments made during the 2002 approved Route Planning and Environmental Assessment Study as set out in the regulation. Alternatives within the project Study Area have been generated and will be evaluated based on technical and environmental factors, and in consultation with Indigenous communities, public stakeholders, municipalities, and government agencies.
The County of Simcoe completed an Environmental Study Report (2012) under the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for the widening of County Road 4 from north of Line 8 to north of County Road 89 (approved 2012). The County of Simcoe has since started site preparation works for the widening of County Road 4 from the southern limit (Line 8) to Line 11.
The Ontario government 2021 budget allocated funding for the County Road 4 Early Works, which includes a grade separation at County Road 4/Yonge Street to accommodate the County of Simcoe’s widening of County Road 4 between Line 8 and 9, in advance of the rest of the Bradford Bypass Project.
To promote efficiencies between the Bradford Bypass Project and the County of Simcoe’s widening of County Road 4 (2012 approved Municipal Class Environmental Assessment), the County Road 4 Early Works will incorporate the widening of this section of County Road 4 including provisions for a multi-use path.
The Early Works Assessment Process was completed on March 21, 2022, in accordance with O.Reg. 697/21, Section 13. A Design-Build contract for the County Road 4 Early Works project was awarded to the Brennan Paving & Construction and Morrison Hershfield Design-Build team in April 2022, and construction is anticipated to start in late 2022.
As the project advances, the number of properties that need to be fully or partially acquired for the Bradford Bypass Project will be determined.
The ministry will meet with individual landowners prior to PIC #2 to discuss impacts to individual properties, understand concerns from landowners and identify opportunities to mitigate impacts.
The ministry aims to acquire property through honest negotiation as early as possible to reach amicable agreements for the acquisition of any properties needed to support important infrastructure improvements like this. Expropriation is only used when agreements cannot be reached within suitable project timeframes.
The below link is for MTO’s Technical Publications website. This site houses documents that are used for the design, construction, and maintenance of the ministry’s transportation facilities in Ontario.