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The Bradford Bypass highway is needed due to growth in Simcoe and York

January 2022

The Ontario Government of Premier Doug Ford recently announced that construction on the long-proposed Bradford Bypass highway will proceed, as they promised after being elected in 2018. The much-needed highway, which has support from Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor Rob Keffer and other local politicians, will begin construction in early 2022.

The Bradford Bypass will be a four-land controlled-access highway, connecting Highway 400 in the west, to Highway 404 in the east, running 16 kilometres from slightly north of Bradford West Gwillimbury’s Line 8, to south of Holborn Road in the Town of East Gwillimbury.

This new highway has proven to be very controversial. A petition to have the federal government review the environmental impact and feasibility of the Bradford Bypass is gathering momentum. Those against the highway are citing environmental concerns, citing an increase in air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to concerns that the highway would disrupt woodlands, provincially significant wetlands like the Holland Marsh, the Lake Simcoe watershed, wildlife habitats and species at risk.

Still others insist that younger Canadians are abandoning their cars in favour of public transit, so the building of new highways are not necessary. However, those who live and work outside of Toronto still primarily use a private automobile to get around.

Proponents of this and other highways, including the proposed Highway 413 through Peel Region, argue that the highway is desperately needed due to the projected population increase for Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area. The Towns of Bradford West Gwillimbury and Newmarket, through which traffic primarily travels between Highways 400 and 404, have seen sharp increases in population in the last 10 years.

While Newmarket has seen a 26% increase in population, from around 74, 300 to 84, 200, between 2006 and 2016, Bradford has seen a 26% increase, from around 28, 000 to 35, 300, between 2011 and 2016, with both continuing to climb. Thus, the main thoroughfares through both towns are already congested, not just from the residential traffic, but also the increasing commercial traffic.

Public transit and Uber rides won’t be enough. If we want to get and keep people and goods moving around in the Greater Toronto and Simcoe County areas, then we need an efficient road network, including controlled-access highways like the Bradford Bypass. While it will unquestionably have an environmental impact on the area, we are also unquestionably better at mitigating the overall environmental impact of our modern society.

If we want our cities and towns in the Toronto area to grow, we will need the road networks to handle the population.

Sources: Bradford Bypass – WikipediaPetition calls for brakes to be put on Bradford Bypass project – Barrie News (barrietoday.com)Newmarket, Ontario – WikipediaBradford West Gwillimbury – Wikipedia.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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