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Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

As MTO has been rebuilding the 401 through the GTA they have made small lane configuration changes, but not really any wholesale widening. They added a westbound lane in the collectors west of the 400 a few years ago to help with the traffic flowing off the 400 ramps, for example, as well as some lane tweaks in a few other spots, like eastbound collectors through the Allen interchange, but generally nothing major.
 
Lots going on at the QEW Dixie Road interchange project.
DJI_0648.jpg
 
Everything has a life cycle and how they last depends on a number of things, but heavy traffic and transports will cause life to be a lot shorter.

Concrete roads stand up a lot better and longer than asphalt roads at a greater cost as well longer to (re)building it.

Safety is the number 1 cause for slower driving as well having less lanes to use for travel. Regardless of all safety measures in place, you will still have ass hole drivers thinking they are god and care shit for the workers on theses projects or the drivers who obey the rule who end up causing traffic mess, injuries or death in the wake, including their own or people in their vehicles.

How traffic was looked at decades ago to having x lanes down the road, under estimated the amount of land needed for an ROW as well lanes to the point you need to look a razzing areas to widening the road or interchanges. A fair number of interchanges where poorly plan that they cause backup of traffic even in the off peak time. To rebuild some of them may require closing parts of it for a number of years creating a greater backup for other interchanges as well the side roads to get around the closure.

QEW was the first hwy built, but not enough ROW was put a side in Mississauga to widen it today, other than double deck it or remove service roads as well all structures along it. It would cut off east-west travel route that exist today since Mississauga road system was poorly layout in the first place. There are other places along the QEW with a narrow ROW as well to meet future expansion. It also applies to other roads in Canada as well.

The old guardrail between lanes became a safety issues that they were replace by concrete barriers that were too low that allow vehicles to climb them in accidents that cause more damage in the on coming lanes. Even rebuilding those barriers to be higher as still too low like the US where their barriers block the headlights of on coming traffic and harder for vehicles to get into the on coming lanes from my point of view.

Until there is a true transit system that is faster and offer better service today as well get people to where they want to go in the first place, gridlock and construction is the fact of life along being stressful to drive.

There are only certain company's that can do highway work as well manpower to the point that things will move slowly and longer to get things built or rebuilt and subject to funding them.
 
In some sense, it's good there's no more ROW left for QEW widening. This forces greater transit investment.
MTO is actively planning to add an HOV lane through Mississauga, much like they did in Halton 15 years ago. The Dixie Road interchange project and Hurontario Interchange project done a decade ago or so protect for it, and the Credit River bridge replacement is actually building the lane and will block it off with temporary barriers until the rest of the corridor is built like MTO did at King Road on the 400 for a while.

I would say Halton could also probably squeeze out an extra lane if it needed to, but it would be expensive as it would involve the realignment of a lot of the service roads. MTO has already completed the EA for a widening west of Guelph Line to extend the HOVs through the 403/407 interchange.

Regardless, the QEW corridor already has the best serviced GO line directly adjacent which is a big reason the highway can get away with being only 6 lanes despite it serving a huge population. A lot of the corridor's demand is already using transit. I wouldn't be surprised if weekend trips to Niagara are already at a 30%+ transit modal share given how slammed the GO trains seem to be.
 
MTO is actively planning to add an HOV lane through Mississauga, much like they did in Halton 15 years ago. The Dixie Road interchange project and Hurontario Interchange project done a decade ago or so protect for it, and the Credit River bridge replacement is actually building the lane and will block it off with temporary barriers until the rest of the corridor is built like MTO did at King Road on the 400 for a while.

I would say Halton could also probably squeeze out an extra lane if it needed to, but it would be expensive as it would involve the realignment of a lot of the service roads. MTO has already completed the EA for a widening west of Guelph Line to extend the HOVs through the 403/407 interchange.

Regardless, the QEW corridor already has the best serviced GO line directly adjacent which is a big reason the highway can get away with being only 6 lanes despite it serving a huge population. A lot of the corridor's demand is already using transit. I wouldn't be surprised if weekend trips to Niagara are already at a 30%+ transit modal share given how slammed the GO trains seem to be.
The bridge at Southdown/Erin Mills Pkwy looks like it was also built to accommodate at least 1 extra lane in each direction. I don't know the exact timing of when that bridge was rebuilt, but if I had to guess probably in the '00s?

Once the new Credit River Bridge is done, they should be able to extend the 3+HOV configuration to at least Hurontario, since it looks like there's room between the current road edge and N & S Sheridan Ways between Southdown and Mississauga Rd.
 
The bridge at Southdown/Erin Mills Pkwy looks like it was also built to accommodate at least 1 extra lane in each direction. I don't know the exact timing of when that bridge was rebuilt, but if I had to guess probably in the '00s?

Once the new Credit River Bridge is done, they should be able to extend the 3+HOV configuration to at least Hurontario, since it looks like there's room between the current road edge and N & S Sheridan Ways between Southdown and Mississauga Rd.
The best you can get between Hurontario and the 403 is 4 lanes without shifting the service road to get 5 lanes.

The Southdown/Erin Mills interchange used to be a ring road until they rebuilt the current one. The best I can recall for the project, it started late 1990's and was completed around 2005 or sooner.

They are planning on shifting the service roads east of Cawthra Rd to the creek to get 4 lanes in for both direction.
 
WInston Churchill westward was EA'd a few years ago, Oakville's website still has the drawings up.


Erin Mills used to be a roundabout, with one side going under the highway and the other going over:

erin mills.png



It's better than what Centennial used to be further down the QEW though... the QEW traffic actually had to take the entire roundabout! This image is from 1967, I forget the date this was replaced, I believe it was sometime in the 1980's. The old beach strip rail line passed over the roundabout before it was ripped up:

centennial.png


Centennial today:

centennial today.jpg
 
^^ Or when the QEW had traffic signals. Similar era to when the 401 had a level RR crossing out in Oshawa.
Yup. People often say the QEW was the first modern freeway in NA when it opened in the 1930's.. the reality is that it was full of intersections and rail crossings, lift bridges, etc. The QEW wasn't a full freeway all the way to Buffalo until the late 70's or early 80's.

Ontario's first "true" freeway was the 401 from Scarborough to Oshawa, but even that was a gravel road for the first few years of it's existence due to wartime shortages.
 
Speaking of the QEW, the Humber River bridge expansion appears to be very close to opening. Paving is complete, final noise barriers being installed, and cleanup continues. Not sure of a published date to open this section of the expanded bridge and remove the current 'loop', but it should be soon, perhaps dependent on heavy equipment access required for the next para.

Today, they were also pouring the Deck on the second half of the rebuild of the Evans Ave exit eastbound from the QEW.

Around the Cawthra bridge site, prep work continues for all sorts of services on the perimeter of the construction zone, but no signs of service road alignments or heavy construction work on the actual replacement bridge as yet.
 
I noticed they have completed the parking lot reconfiguration for the Longos plaza on the north side, and it looks like there has been grading for the approach to the new Dixie Rd bridge. Generally a lot of work to go still, but that's understandable as we are only a few months into what I believe is supposed to be a 4-year project.
 
Yup. People often say the QEW was the first modern freeway in NA when it opened in the 1930's.. the reality is that it was full of intersections and rail crossings, lift bridges, etc. The QEW wasn't a full freeway all the way to Buffalo until the late 70's or early 80's.

Ontario's first "true" freeway was the 401 from Scarborough to Oshawa, but even that was a gravel road for the first few years of it's existence due to wartime shortages.
427 was signalized at Morningstar until the early 90's
 
427 was signalized at Morningstar until the early 90's
Huh - didn't know about that one. Here it is in 1989:

morningstar.png


Looks like it was signalized only in the southbound direction. At the time, the 427 ended at Indian Line still, but 1992 imagery has the 427 extended north to Highway 7, with the signal still there. Pretty crazy to see a signal on a 6-lane freeway! I imagine the Morningstar overpass was constructed in conjunction with the 407, but Toronto has a gap of online air images from 1992 to 2005 so it's hard to tell.
 

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