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LETTER: Bradford Bypass an outdated concept

'The Bradford Bypass will do little, if anything, to shorten the trip from Keswick to Innisfil,' reader says
2022-05-17 typing pexels-donatello-trisolino-1375261
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BradfordToday welcomes letters to the editor at [email protected]. Please include your daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). This letter is in response to a letter regarding the Bradford Bypass, published July 14.
It is really unfortunate that misinformation, such as this being spread by Sandy Hessel of Sharon, continues to be circulated and accepted by both the general public and many of our politicians.

The Bradford Bypass will do little, if anything, to shorten the trip from Keswick to Innisfil. This is confirmed by Slide 5 on the PIC 1 MTO April 1 — May 6, 2021 presentation. The Bradford Bypass will attract additional traffic while motorists from Innisfil will still have to travel south on County Road 4 to get to the bypass and then north on Highway 404 from the bypass to get to Keswick. This out-of-the-way travel is just over 10 km. The Rural Road 4 section is at a rural road speed limit (recently reduced to 70 km/h).

The Bradford Bypass was not under consideration before Sandy Hessel moved to East Gwillimbury in 1985. Consideration of this highway only commenced in 1993 with the publication of a draft environmental assessment proposal. Prior to that, the province was proposing to build a two-lane highway to connect Highway 89 with Ravenshoe Road at the south end of Keswick.

The Highway 89 extension environmental assessment study (1984) was a full EA study for this proposal. This proposal even had substantial EA approval by an independent environmental assessment review board. MTO subsequently abandoned this proposal in response to strong pushback by several powerful environmental groups. The consultants doing the Bradford Bypass EA study acknowledged that this new proposed highway would be more environmentally intrusive than the previously proposed Highway 89 extension.

The recently approved York Region 2051 Official Plan calls for unprecedented population levels in both East Gwillimbury and Bradford. The resultant traffic levels will overwhelm the Bradford Bypass to the point where expansion to six lanes will likely be necessary. These problems and Sandy Hessel’s congestion concerns would best be met by:

  1. Connecting Bradford West Gwillimbury Line 13 with Ravenshoe Road with a regional road. This will eliminate 10 km of out-of-the-way travel.
  2. Constructing the Bradford Bypass south of Newmarket — this would separate long-distance, inter-highway traffic from all the local traffic that will be generated by the planned population growth in Bradford, Sharon, Queensville and Holland Landing.
  3. Connecting Queensville Sideroad to Bradford’s 8th Line via Bathurst Street and Hochreiter Road with a regional road.

Using regional roads for items a) and c) would produce less salt runoff into the Holland River and ultimately Lake Simcoe than will the potentially six-lane, high-speed Bradford Bypass. All the Bradford Bypass will give us is more congestion, sprawl and salination of Lake Simcoe.

The Bradford Bypass is a 25-year-old idea based on a woefully inadequate knowledge of environmental impacts and sound planning principles. Simply put, it is a seriously obsolete solution to what is quickly becoming a critical population planning imperative.

Bill Foster
Chair, Forbid Roads Over Green Spaces