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Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

But tolls are also wildly unpopular so I think it could go either way.
Tolls are the only true way to get rid of congestion and everyone knows that. It won't look so good on the gov't for future highway projects if the 413 is clogged the moment it opens, especially since they quote the "30 minutes saved" so often
we are discussing the Bradford Bypass here, I think it's more likely the 413 will be tolled. But tolls are also wildly unpopular so I think it could go either way.
The 413 needs to be tolled for personal vehicles. As for heavy commercial vehicles, I really think they need to offer a discount or non toll to get them to not clog up the 401. Maybe a monthly allowance milage before a toll occurs. They also need to create a protection zone to avoid mass development around the corridor to keep it a rural highway.

The Bradford Bypass should be kept free and as a connector. It'll be extremely helpful in road closure cases.
They aren't doing no changes, but instead are critically reviewing the EA (which was completed in 2002, not 1997 as the article suggests) and making adjustments where required, compared to the previous requirements would would have required a full restart, years of additional work duplicating information likely to have not changed much if at all since 2002, just to end up with a project likely very similar if not identical to what they will end up building. I'm just not sure of the utility of such an exercise.
Not quite - the EA was completed in December 1997, and signed off by ministers in August 2002.
"Respondents to Campaign Research’s recent survey were also asked about a possible highway tunnel below — or a second raised highway above — the busiest 20-kilometre stretch of Highway 401 to help relieve congestion on the existing route. Neither of those ideas have been floated by the government publicly."

I would not be surprised if Transurban is behind that idea. They're huge in Australia - basically controlling all of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane's major toll highways. They're starting a push into North America, with Express Lanes in Washington DC and the A25 in Quebec. They've done huge unsolicited proposals before... lots of lobbying...

WestConnex in Sydney is 33km of tunnelled highway, for example - operated by Transurban.

Depending on where they're building it, adding more lanes will help the highway flow better. Basically we need to tackle the choke points / bottlenecks rather than the already wide sections.

Example- the only real way to build collector lanes between the 427 and 409 interchanges would be to elevate or tunnel them (unless you spend a decade rebuilding the 401/427 interchange). That would make the two collector-express systems connected and thus make the whole 401 flow a bit better through Greater Toronto.
I think you could add collectors through the 409-427 stretch without tunneling. It would take some bridge replacements and would likely be sort of pricey, but also likely far cheaper than tunneling.

It's the 409-404 stretch that's more of an issue. That part can't really be expanded more than it already is.

And agreed that the issue is more the pinch points, things like the 400/401 interchange and 401/404 interchange and points where the collectors drop down to 2 lanes only are more the issue that could see larger congestion reductions for less money than some overpriced tunnel lanes.

I wouldn't be immediately opposed to a tunnel option provided it's appropriately tolled, and operates as a sort of "super express" service operating more or less only between the major freeway interchanges.
for 409 to 404, the Highway 400 interchange is a major source of congestion. The 401 itself doesn't really need more lanes, rather the connecting ramps between the two highways need to be widened and we need more of them. Some of the connections are single lanes and could be doubled, and others need to be built. Examples include- a ramp from 401 West Express to 400 North, 400 south to 401 EB and WB express, etc.

Building a Texas-style viaduct in the centre median could work for a 4-lane HOV/HOT only highway, but the cost to build and maintain the thing sounds pretty absurd.

To boost carrying capacity without widening, I've always been for converting the innermost express lane to HOV - even if it doesn't meet the design standard of HOV lanes elsewhere in the province. All you need is a (massive) bucket of paint and some signs.
It goes without saying that further widening of the central 401 sections is a non starter. The most that should be done is fixing chokepoints and minor optimizations, maybe an auxiliary lane here or there. If any extra widening is done beyond that, it should be reserved exclusively for an express bus or light metro line.

The real solution to reducing 401 congestion is simply letting people WFH to a significant extent. Let those who can WFH (nearly all office work) do so and those who cannot will have a free flowing highway. This is such a no-brainer to me, but I'm not surprised this approach lacks widespread acceptance given the ossified and regressive work culture permeating the work world. Goes to show that many of our urban/transit/infrastructure problems are actually cultural and political, not technical or financial.

Also, I'm not sure where this "18 lane" claim keeps coming from. There's no section of the 401 with 18 through lanes. Maybe you can get up to 18 lanes if you count all ramps and the basketweave, but that's misleading.
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Also, I'm not sure where this "18 lane" claim keeps coming from. There's no section of the 401 with 18 through lanes. Maybe you can get up to 18 lanes if you count all ramps and the basketweave, but that's misleading.

Between Highway 403/410 and 427, Highway 401 has 18 through lanes. All the collector and express segments have at least 4 lanes each, with a 5th lane appearing/disappearing at the transfer points.That gives you 9 lanes each way, or a total of 18.

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the 401 has 18 through lanes between the 427 and 410/403, with alternating 5 lane and 4 lane stretches through the collector/express system. It is the widest highway in North America.

It also operates generally quite well and isn't really over capacity. The parts that are over capacity are the 10 lane part between the 427 and 409, and the 14 lane part from the 409 to the 404.

The busiest part of the highway is from the 409 to the 400, which had a westbound lane added to the collectors about a decade ago now making it 15 lanes total.
Forget tunneling, double decking or rebuilding interchanges. IMO the 407 is the best solution to relieving 401 congestion and bottlenecks. Lower the tolls and get more truck traffic on it.
Alternatively, tolling the 401, would also push more traffic to 407. In addition it would reduce traffic on 401 - alleviating the need for such a massive construction project!