Highway 407 just got longer and more connected to the 401 which should delight an ever growing number of GTA commuters.

The eastern extension of  the 407 plus a new toll road  - Highway 418  that links to the traffic burdened Hwy. 401 - opened Monday.

The 407 now stretches to Hwy. 35/115 in Clarington  with the opening of this  four-lane, 14-kilometre road on its most eastern section.

Commuters can now reach the 401 by the 10-kilometre north-south Hwy. 418, which connects with the 401 between Courtice and Bowmanville.

READ: Construction Has Begun On Hwy. 401 Expansion – What’s Coming Next?

The goal for the two new roads is to provide relief for motorists using the always crowded 401 that winds through Oshawa and towns and suburbs to the east of Toronto. These two new roads will permit commuters to bypass Toronto between Clarington and Burlington.

The two highways cost about $1.2 billion to build and took four years to complete.

Durham Region, with its lower housing costs than Toronto and other parts of the GTA, is an increasingly popular spot for first-time home buyers, and a direct beneficiary of the expanded 407.

READ: How Long Does It Take to Sell a Detached House in Durham Region?

According to a recent Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) report, house prices in Durham increased by 3.6 per cent since Nov. 2018 and dipped 0.3 per cent since Oct. 2019. The overall market posted an 8.1 per cent annual increase (-1.6 per cent monthly).

ReMax broker John Owen reported in his blog that active listings in Durham Region were 1363 in November, a 23.1 per cent decrease from last year and a 24.4 per cent decrease from October. The drop in active listings, says Owen,  represents a significant tightening of the market and inventory remains an issue.

Prices grew at a faster pace in the GTA overall last month,

According to recent figures from the 407, average daily workday trips have increased from 237,000 in 1999, to over 413,000 in 2017. Total annual trips have increased from 71.9 million in 1999, to over 125 million in 2017.

Work on the 407 East Phase 2  was led Blackbird Infrastructure, a consortium made up of CRH Canada Group Inc. and Spain-based Cintra Infraestructuras with construction done by  Dufferin Construction Co, a subsidiary of CRH and Ferrovial Agroman Canada.

READ: PC Plan To Widen Highway 401 Is Narrow-Minded

Phase 1 of the 407 expansion opened  in 2016. Phase 2, in total, added  another 22 kilometres to the provincially-owned section of Hwy. 407 all the way from Harmony Road in Oshawa to Hwy. 35/115 . Also included is the 418 connection to make it easier to reach the 401.

Construction has also included three highway-to-highway interchanges plus five entrances/exits to surface roads.

Unlike the privately-owned and operated 407 ETR farther west, the extensions are owned by the province, though they are still toll roads.

Included in the $1.2 billion contract for the highway project are  30-years of operations, maintenance and rehabilitation.