By Robin MacLennan
After years of planning, it appears that work on the Highway 400 bridge at Essa Road is about to progress – a key to relieving traffic congestion through Barrie.
Bridgework was first recommended as part of the Highway 400 planning and preliminary design study unveiled in 2004. That document covers a 30-kilometre stretch of the highway through Innisfil and Barrie, running between highways 89 and the Highway 11 split.
Stantec Consulting Ltd. is currently working on a detail design and class environmental assessment for the reconstruction of the interchange, including the replacement of the Highway 400 overpass. The detail design includes:
- Replacement of the Highway 400 bridges at Essa Road
- Reconstruction of the Highway 400/Essa Road interchange to accommodate the future widening of the highway
- Limited widening of Highway 400 to accommodate construction staging
- Replacement of traffic signals at new ramp terminals
- Storm sewer replacement, storm water management and median tall wall concrete barrier improvements
- Widening of Essa Road to six lanes within the interchange
The study follows the approved planning process for Group B projects under the Ministry of Transportation Facilities, which included an assessment of potential impacts of the project on the study area environment and addressing concerns.
Once the study is completed, a report will be available to the public for 30 days.
In addition, there are several additional rehabilitation projects expected along the highway, including replacement of the Anne Street, Sunnidale Road and Dunlop Street bridges, as well as interchange reconstruction at Dunlop. The bridge replacements will accommodate future widening of Highway 400.
Farther south on Highway 400, the city is leading the way on an interchange at McKay Road, which is located between Innisfil Beach Road and Mapleview Drive.
All of the work is needed to accommodate future widening of Hwy. 400 is anticipated to be spread out between 2020 and 2027.
In 2001, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) undertook a Planning and Preliminary Design Study to identify required improvements and widening requirements along 30 km of Highway 400 from 1 km south of Highway 89 to the junction at Highway 11. The study was updated in 2017 to address changes throughout the corridor.
For more information, visit hwy400essaroad.ca.