Following years of mixed public reception and industry criticism, the provincial government is officially moving forward with the Bradford Bypass -- the new four-lane highway that will connect Highway 400 and Highway 404 in Simcoe County and York Region -- as shovels broke ground today.

The province announced construction is now underway on a bridge that will cross over the site of the future highway, “marking another milestone in the province’s plan to relieve gridlock, create jobs and connect communities in the rapidly-growing Greater Golden Horseshoe.”

READ: Ontario Releases Official Plan to Build Highway 413 and Bradford Bypass

“Our government will be relentless in delivering on our ambitious plan to build the much needed infrastructure that our growing province needs,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Building the Bradford Bypass is a key part of our plan to fight gridlock in the Greater Golden Horseshoe, helping commuters spend less time in traffic while creating good paying jobs for the people of this region.”

This past spring, the province awarded the design and construction contract of the bridge to Brennan Paving & Construction Ltd. The new structure will span between the 8th and 9th Line, allowing County of Simcoe Road 4 (Yonge Street) to cross above the highway. The project will also widen the road from two to four lanes.

“Gridlock makes life harder for Ontario businesses and farmers who rely on a strong highway network to get their goods to market quickly,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This important milestone brings us another step closer to getting the Bradford Bypass built, improving economic productivity and eliminating the gridlock that hurts us all.”

According to the province, construction of the highway is to be an economic boon for the region, estimated to contribute $274M to annual real GDP, and support 2,640 jobs in the transportation, engineering, construction and supply-chain industries.

It is part of a $3B investment by the province between 2022 and 2023 to expand and repair provincial highways, roads, and bridges, with $761M slated for the former, and $1.5B set aside for rehabilitation projects. A project specific assessment of environmental impacts in accordance with Ontario Regulation 697/21 for the project is currently underway and is expected to be completed in 2023.

Creation of the new highway, while contentious with local municipalities and environmental advocates, has been welcomed by the transport industry, with motorists -- including commercial truck drivers -- to see considerable travel time savings of up to 35 minutes per trip.

"The Ontario Trucking Association fully supports the Government of Ontario’s move forward on the Bradford Bypass,” stated Stephen Laskowski, President of the Ontario Trucking Association. “The addition of this key infrastructure link is vital for the province. The project will support both short-term and future economic recovery, address capacity issues, reduce congestion on existing regional and municipal roads between Highway 400 and Highway 404; and promote the enhanced movement of goods and people along Ontario highways and strategic trade corridors. Essentially, the highway -- which will serve as a major freeway-to-freeway connector between Northern, Central and Southern Ontario -- will have a positive impact by supporting and providing relief for the supply chains across the province, which have been under stress since the start of the pandemic. 

“Consequently, it allows the trucking industry to better serve businesses in York and Simcoe Regions and more efficiently provide the goods and products those businesses, their employees and residents need to thrive. OTA cannot stress enough how important this effort is to our industry and economic recovery of Ontario. This investment by the province will pay dividends for decades to come."