The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has retained AECOM Canada Ltd. (AECOM) to undertake a Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Study for the proposed Highway 400 – Highway 404 Link (Bradford Bypass). MTO previously completed a route planning study for the Bradford Bypass in 1997 and a subsequent EA and Recommended Plan were approved in 2002.

The proposed Bradford Bypass is a new 16.2 km rural controlled access freeway. The proposed highway will extend from Highway 400 between Lines 8 and 9 in Bradford West Gwillimbury, will cross a small portion of King Township and will connect to Highway 404 between Queensville Sideroad and Holborn Road in East Gwillimbury. There are proposed full and partial interchanges, as well as grade separated crossings at intersecting municipal roads and watercourses, including the Holland River and Holland River East Branch. This project will also include the Preliminary Design for the replacement of the 9th Line structure on Highway 400.

The Study Area is within the Simcoe County (Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury) and Regional Municipality of York (Township of King and Town of East Gwillimbury).

A project map that illustrates the locations for proposed interchanges and the preliminary design for the Highway 400/9th Line Structure Replacement for the Bradford Bypass.

1992 – 1997

Route Planning and Environmental Assessment Study

Environmental Assessment Report (1997) documenting the environmental assessment process for the route selection, right-of-way designation and future commitments for the Highway 400-Highway 404 Link. A Notice of Approval to proceed with the undertaking was issued by the Minister of Environment and Energy on August 28, 2002. A total of 15 conditions were issued as part of the approvals process.

The original route planning study addressed several transportation problems which were identified in the northern part of York Region and southeastern Simcoe County. The identified problems were related to the Ministry’s mandate to provide for the safe, efficient movement of people and goods between regions and between urban areas.

The analysis of municipal development plans indicated that there will be a continuation of dramatic growth in travel demand, which has been characteristic of York Region and Simcoe County for many years. This growth continues to contribute to congestion on key east-west roadways linking Highway 400 to the extension of Highway 404. At the time of the route planning study and EA, the approved plans to upgrade regional roads were only expected to accommodate a fraction of this travel demand. Alternative transportation solutions to regional road widening alone is therefore warranted. As part of the Route Planning and EA study, key problems considered included: Traffic, Road Discontinuities, Future Demand Growth Implications, and, Lack of Long-Term Plan. The original study considered the following key opportunities: relief of congestion and protection of property for the future transportation right-of-way.

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.

2019 – 2020

Preliminary Design Preparatory Work for Design Updates, Environmental Technical Updates and Permission to Enter

In August 2019, the MTO approved the re-initiation of design activities for the Bradford Bypass. In advance of the current Preliminary Design assignment, AECOM completed preparatory work relating to the Engineering Design Update for the project, Environmental Existing Conditions Updates and initiated the process for securing Permission to Enter (PTE) for field investigations.

Engineering Design Update: Involved a review of the highway geometrics for the Bradford Bypass developed as part of the 1997 Study and to identify opportunities to modify the design to be in accordance with current Ministry standards for safety and engineering design standards. Through Preliminary Design, these design updates will be further evaluated for the design alternatives and selection of the preferred alternative.

Environmental Technical Update: Consisted of background data collection through secondary sources (desktop surveys), to update the technical information related to specific environmental disciplines based on the Study Area for the 1997 EA approved Bradford By-Pass Recommended Plan, plus a buffer area beyond the right-of-way limits. The disciplines included: Archaeology, Built Heritage, Fisheries, Groundwater, Land Use Factors, Terrestrial Ecosystems, and Waste and Contamination. Based on the findings of this work, an update to the environmental commitments to future work was noted and will be carried forward through Preliminary Design.

Other Related Projects

Highway 400 Planning and Preliminary Design Study from the South Canal Bridge to 1.0 km South of Highway 89

MTO completed a Preliminary Design Study outlined in the Highway 400 Planning and Preliminary Design Study from the South Canal Bridge to 1.0 km South of Highway 89 Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) in November 2003. The need for an addendum to the 2003 EA, addressing the replacement of the Highway 400 / 9th Line structure, will be evaluated during the Bradford Bypass Preliminary Design.

Preliminary Design Environmental Studies

The following environmental discipline studies will be carried out during the current preliminary design study:

  • Agricultural Impact Assessment;
  • Air Quality Impact Assessment;
  • Archaeological Assessment (Stages 2, 3, & 4, as required);
  • Cultural Heritage Assessment;
  • Drainage and Hydrology;
  • Erosion and Sediment Control Risk Assessment;
  • Fish and Fish Habitat Existing Conditions and Impact Assessment Report;
  • Fluvial Geomorphology;
  • Groundwater Impact Assessment;
  • Land Use and Property Impact Assessment;
  • Noise and Vibration Impact Assessment;
  • Preliminary Landscape Composition Plan;
  • Snowdrift Assessment;
  • Terrestrial Ecosystems Existing Conditions and Impact Assessment Report (including an assessment of vegetation and vegetation communities, wildlife and wildlife habitat, species at risk and designated natural areas); and,
  • Waste and Excess Materials Management Plan.
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