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Roads: Ontario/GTA Highways Discussion

I believe this may be a rumoured tunneled widening of the 401 through Central Toronto. The PCs had some telephone polling on it a while ago, apparently in partnership with Transurban, an Australian company which has built many of the tunneled highways in Australia. Transurban already operates a toll bridge in Montreal, so they do have a presence here.

I imagine it would be tolled to finance it as it would be ridiculously expensive.

I also wouldn't put too much stock into it actually happening as it would be insanely expensive and likely not supported by other parties, which would be basically required to get it to construction, unless the PCs have an illustriously long term in government.

With regards to funding levels for roads - Ford is actually spending about the same as Wynne did on the provincial highway network ($2.8 billion annually). He just likes to advertise it a lot more.

I was waiting for your thoughts on this.............

Any talk of largest projects in the world as it pertains to highways in Ontario I'm likely to oppose. Not so much out of knee-jerk opposition as the feeling that such money would simply be better spent on any range of other projects from mass transit, to inter-city transit, to hospitals and schools.
 
New super billboard being installed over the CP Galt Sub 10 meters from Highway 427 just North of North Queen. When finished it will feature two panels in a V orientation with the point facing East (towards overpass in photo) perpendicular to the tracks. I couldn't figure out what this was at first, almost looked like a pipeline.

Info taken from this City of Toronto article.

article here

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Might be a silly question but does the railway own the billboards? I'm wondering why a lot of GTA rail bridges were beautified AND had screens added?
 
Might be a silly question but does the railway own the billboards? I'm wondering why a lot of GTA rail bridges were beautified AND had screens added?
As of a few years ago at least, my understanding was there were limitations on what could be installed by 400-series highways, but the rail corridors, being federally regulated, might have been outside of the Corridor Management purview, and Metrolinx started popping them up to take advantage (do they have 1 each at Barrie Line & 401, Kitchener Line & 401, Lakeshore W & Gardiner, maybe others?).
 
I was waiting for your thoughts on this.............

Any talk of largest projects in the world as it pertains to highways in Ontario I'm likely to oppose. Not so much out of knee-jerk opposition as the feeling that such money would simply be better spent on any range of other projects from mass transit, to inter-city transit, to hospitals and schools.

I wouldn't be opposed to it as long as it's largely self-financing - but I suspect even with tolls it would need some subsidies, unless the PCs simply want it to become the 407ETR 2.0 with sky-high toll rates.

If it was limited to interchanges with only other 400-series highways, keeping local access to the existing road, I think it could work well to help route longer-distance and freight traffic through the city without inducing a lot of local auto trips. Perhaps it could even be implemented as a truck-only route, or alternately convert the existing express lanes to truck-only and allow cars in the tunnel.

If it's untolled, that would be... ambitious. The Alaska Way tunnel cost $3 billion, or about $1 billion per KM for a far less complex project. Assuming the 401 tunnel costs a similar amount per km (an ambitious goal), it would cost to the tune of $24 billion to tunnel from the 427 to the 404.

Regardless, I slot it solidly in fantasy-land for the political reasons I already outlined.
 
Might be a silly question but does the railway own the billboards? I'm wondering why a lot of GTA rail bridges were beautified AND had screens added?
I don't know for certain but I highly doubt it. They probably just lease the space and take the income. For them to get into the actual advertising game seems like another unnecessary business model. As to the second question, I guess it becomes a matter of whether you this type of advertising, particularly bright, changing pixel-type displays is considered 'beautification'.
 
I wonder if it may be, at least in Toronto, for filling in gaps (ie. Collector/Express on the 401 between 409 and 427). That seems more likely than tunnelled lanes across the entirety of Toronto.

It seems as though some of this money is for SOGR/rehab work as well. Now that the Gardiner and DVP are under provincial jurisdiction, that's sure to eat a billion or two of that $28 billion budget.

Also, it looks as though the money is for the entire province. Widening in Kenora, Chatham-Kent, Kingston, Ottawa, and Sudbury all fall under this money. There is highway work happening in these places. Ontario is not just Toronto.

As such, the 401 tunnel across town is high fantasy. Not happening, folks.
 
We already knew they were going to build a bridge from here across the lake during that glimpse at the near future.

So this is that.
 
I believe this may be a rumoured tunneled widening of the 401 through Central Toronto. The PCs had some telephone polling on it a while ago, apparently in partnership with Transurban, an Australian company which has built many of the tunneled highways in Australia. Transurban already operates a toll bridge in Montreal, so they do have a presence here.

I imagine it would be tolled to finance it as it would be ridiculously expensive.

I also wouldn't put too much stock into it actually happening as it would be insanely expensive and likely not supported by other parties, which would be basically required to get it to construction, unless the PCs have an illustriously long term in government.

With regards to funding levels for roads - Ford is actually spending about the same as Wynne did on the provincial highway network ($2.8 billion annually). He just likes to advertise it a lot more.
Is a GO rail line paralleling the 401 (not the 407 transitway proposal) even a remote possibility? That would be a game changer for the city.
 
To literally say "we are currently planning one of the largest projects in the world" just so casually is just straight up crazy. But then again, we live in crazy times here in Ontario. The stat he threw out in his speech about the population of Ontario being projected to soon surpass the population of New York state is mind-boggling.

I am really really really hoping it has nothing to do with tunneling new lanes of the 401 through Toronto. I generally support new highway construction, but adding even more lanes to the already maxed out 401 just goes a bit too far in my opinion. I am sure the AADT of the busiest sections of the 401 have likely hit a colossal 500k by now, though, so I'm sure such a project could be justified. If we are going to be spending on ambitious transportation projects, I would much rather see that money get spent on something like the Windsor to Toronto HSR project that got canned. Funny enough, the two fastest growing US states Texas and Florida, which Doug mentions in his speech, both currently have HSR or near-HSR plans (Texas Central Railway and Brightline) active, while Ontario is growing faster than both combined and has none (that stupid HFR project does not count lol).
 
Is a GO rail line paralleling the 401 (not the 407 transitway proposal) even a remote possibility? That would be a game changer for the city.
Wouldn't that essentially be the Midtown corridor?
I am really really really hoping it has nothing to do with tunneling new lanes of the 401 through Toronto. I generally support new highway construction, but adding even more lanes to the already maxed out 401 just goes a bit too far in my opinion. I am sure the AADT of the busiest sections of the 401 have likely hit a colossal 500k by now, though, so I'm sure such a project could be justified.
The only widening of the 401 in Toronto that I would support is the portion of the highway between the 427 and 409. Turn it into a collectors/ express setup to match the rest of the highway. Widening or tunneling any other portion of the 401 in Toronto is just overkill.
 
Yeah, I would not be surprised if Transurban were looking for another city to make lots of money from.

They've just finished covering (well, the underneath of) Sydney in new motorways - WestConnex. 33 kilometres of new tunnels that have been been heavily criticised - of course they're heavily tolled (around $10 Canadian for cars, at least 3x more for trucks - and the toll rises at 4% or inflation whichever is higher) ! Good article about them here.

The Rozelle Interchange is honestly impressive underground spaghetti!
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The problem about expanding the capacity of the 401 is this! Road widening is not the solution... in my opinion, road pricing is one way to reduce the vehicles on the road - but good luck finding politicians who will vote for that!
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Given that Sheppard Avenue will become a high capacity subway line before long, I doubt that this would be a good idea.

I'll disagree. Sheppard, as currently envisioned, builds out as Downsview Park/Sheppard West to McCowan (though I think may end up a bit further east); probably in the late 2030s at the earliest.

A GO line on the 401 would extend at least to Pearson in the west, and intersect GO KW, while heading to Pickering GO in the east, so it covers a larger catchment and more regional trips.

Even where 'duplicating' Sheppard, it would likely have 1/3 the number of stops, and much shorter trip times for those covering extended distances.

There is clearly a great deal of demand in a corridor that is North America's highest volume stretch of freeway at 16-20 lanes of traffic. If GO could, replace even 25% of that demand, the benefits would be enormous.

***

To be clear, I don't expect GO - 401 to happen, at least in the near term; I do expect Sheppard will go first. I just don't think its an inherently bad idea.
 
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Yeah, I would not be surprised if Transurban were looking for another city to make lots of money from.
Ah, intriguing - I knew Transurban had US tolled roads (well, HOT lanes), but I didn't know they had bought the A25 in Montreal!
So they've clearly got some Canadian presence already. Interesting.

Their latest investor pack does note "Future traditional toll road and Express Lanes acquisition opportunities" in North America, so they're not sitting around.
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