Province may change position on 407 Print

A letter from the Minister of Transportation to the City of Oshawa indicates that the province may be rethinking its decision not to extend the 407 highway to Highway 35/115 in one phase.

According to a recent letter sent from Minister Wynne to Oshawa Mayor Henry, the Ministry of Transportation is assessing the impact that stopping Hwy 407 in Oshawa will have on local traffic and is developing options for further discussion.

The letter, dated February 2, is in response to the City of Oshawa's RAMP it up! campaign that urges the province to expedite construction of the Hwy 407 East Extension from Brock Road in Pickering through to Hwy 35/115 in one continuous phase.

This is a turn around from ten weeks ago, when Minister Wynne emphatically stated at a public meeting with Durham Region and area politicians that the project would absolutely proceed in two phases with the first phase stopping at Simcoe Street.

"I am pleased that Premier McGuinty and Minister Wynne are revising their position and are reassessing their decision to stop Hwy 407 in Oshawa," says Oshawa Mayor John Henry. "However, those impacted by this extension - including my political colleagues and I - have not yet been consulted regarding these options. Will the community - residents, businesses, community groups, municipalities - have input into these options?"

Public and political pressure surrounding the Hwy 407 East Extension project has been building since the province unexpectedly announced it would build the extension in two phases - contrary to years of preparation, study and promises for a one-phase extension from Brock Road in Pickering through to Hwy 35/115 with a completion date of 2013. Currently, the province plans to stop Hwy 407 at Simcoe Street in Oshawa using a two-phased approach, which will ultimately mean higher costs for all provincial taxpayers. In addition, it will cost the residents of Durham Region and the City of Oshawa approximately $329 million in unplanned capital road work plus ongoing maintenance costs.

In response, the City of Oshawa launched the RAMP it up! campaign on January 24, 2011 to encourage businesses and residents of southern Ontario to oppose any decision to terminate the Hwy 407 East in Oshawa and petition the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to proceed with the Hwy 407 East Extension project as planned and promised, in one continuous phase, from Brock Road in Pickering through to Hwy 35/115, with a completion date of 2013.