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Opinion: While waiting for the Bradford Bypass, Queensville Sideroad should be extended

In this regular current affairs column by Bradford West Gwillimbury consultant Jonathan Scott, he looks at the option of extending Queensville Sideroad as a way to alleviate commuting congestion
Workers making asphalt with shovels at road constructio

This summer, Minister Caroline Mulroney announced that the Bradford Bypass was finally moving forward. The 16-kilometre highway will connect Highway 404 to Highway 400 running just north of East Gwillimbury and Bradford. It is long overdue. 

“We have to review the Environmental Assessment and begin preparing for the design and engineering work,” Mulroney rightly said at the time of the announcement

For his part, Mayor Rob Keffer suggested he would hope to see shovels in the ground within the next two years, but he concedes he will have to keep the pressure on to achieve that goal. 

Mulroney was more circumspect, saying only that, “It is certainly my hope that we will see shovels in the ground as soon as practical." See article here

There is, as yet, no clear timeline to begin construction, but it stands to reason it will be at least a few years.

The new highway is nonnegotiable as our region grows. However, there may be another interim measure Bradford and East Gwillimbury could pursue more immediately. 

Since the Highway 404 Extension opened, people have used Queensville Sideroad as an alternative route to Green Lane. Yet, Queensville Sideroad ends at Bathurst Street and forces commuters to take an odd south-bound detour, forcing everyone back onto Bridge Street as the only eastern entrance into Bradford. It’s bizarre and a waste of time. 

The simple solution is to extend Queensville Sideroad westward from where it ends at Bathurst Street, over the Holland River to where it would meet up with Dissette Street, a distance of some 2.7 kilometres. 

Imagine if you could get off the 404 at Queensville Sideroad and it would take you all the way into Bradford directly? This would not vitiate the need for the Bypass, but it would help reduce commuting time now, and even once the Bypass was opened, it would still be an effective east-west route. 

Moreover, it would serve to better connect East Gwillimbury and Georgina to Bradford, which would be good for our region economically and in a more esoteric sense by better connecting our riding of York—Simcoe. 

The downside could be more traffic in the Queensville and River Drive Park neighbourhoods in East Gwillimbury, but I would argue that traffic is already there, and if anything it would be improved by a more direct, less circuitous route that would help to stop the traffic from bottlenecking. 

Extending a side road is not a cheap option. But it is affordable. And it would help with our traffic problems on a far shorter timeline than the Bypass—and even once the Bypass opens, connecting our two towns remains a benefit in and of itself.