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1. What is the study area?

The study area includes Highway 401 and the adjacent land uses between Brock Road and Courtice Road, excluding the portion between Salem Road and Brock Street which is being reviewed as part of a separate study. The project limits are located in the City of Pickering, Town of Ajax, Town of Whitby, City of Oshawa, and Municipality of Clarington.

2. What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of this study is to determine the long-term operational and rehabilitation needs of the corridor, recommend safety improvements, and determine a strategic plan including approach and contract staging and sequencing for future construction contracts. Alternatives will be generated and evaluated based on technical and environmental factors and in consultation with the public, stakeholders, municipalities and government agencies. At the end of the study a Transportation Environmental Study Report will be prepared, which will document the recommended plan for this section of Highway 401 along with the process leading to the selection of the recommended plan.

3. Why is the Ministry examining improvements to Highway 401 between Brock Road and Courtice Road?

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is committed to providing and maintaining a safe and efficient provincial transportation system. Highway 401 is an important link in Ontario's freeway network, connecting the Detroit/Windsor area to the Quebec border. Improvements along this section of Highway 401 are needed to bring the corridor up to current standards and to maintain adequate operational and safety conditions in the future.

4. What is the Recommended Plan for the study?

The Recommended Plan for the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure and to address the long-term capacity and operational requirements generally includes:

  • Widening Highway 401 to a 12-lane core-collector system (extend existing system to the east) from Brock Road to West Durham Link;
  • Widening Highway 401 to a 10-lane simple freeway (no collectors) from West Durham Link to Courtice Road;
  • Bridge replacements at Park Road, Cubert Street, Simcoe Street, Albert Street, Ritson Road, Wilson Road, Bloor Street, and Farewell Creek;
  • Bridge rehabilitation / widening at Brock Road, Duffins Creek, Westney Road, Salem Road, Thickson Road, Oshawa Creek, and Bloor Street (over Harmony Creek);
  • New structures over Oshawa Creek, Harmony Road at Highway 401, and Bloor Street over Farewell Creek;
  • Minor interchange modifications at Brock Road, Westney Road, Salem Road, Thickson Road, and Stevenson Road interchanges to accommodate the recommended widening of Highway 401;
  • Major interchange reconfigurations at Simcoe Street / Ritson Road and Harmony Road interchanges;
  • Closure of the existing interchange ramps at Drew Street, west of Ritson Road;
  • Conventional pavement rehabilitations; and,
  • Other improvements including drainage, illumination, overhead signing and traffic signals.

5. When will the preferred plan be constructed?

The improvements from this study are not currently included within the Ministry’s 5-year capital plan, and there is no definitive timeframe for these improvements as they will be subject to the availability of funding and provincial priorities. It is anticipated that some smaller components of the Recommended Plan or rehabilitation assignments, such as individual structural rehabilitations or replacements, new ramps, or localized pavement improvements, may be constructed in advance of the main rehabilitation or widening contracts. The details of these contracts will be determined by MTO based on future assessments or localized rehabilitation requirements.

6. Will municipal staff be involved in the project?

The Project Team consulted with and held numerous meetings with staff from the City of Pickering, Town of Ajax, Town of Whitby, City of Oshawa, Municipality of Clarington and Region of Durham throughout the study - particularly before key milestones in the project such as the generation, assessment, and evaluation of alternatives.

7. How does the environmental assessment process work?

This study will follow the approved planning process for a Group 'B' project under the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities (2000), an approved process under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act.

The opportunity for public input will be provided throughout this study. A Notice of Study Commencement was published in the Ajax/Pickering News Advertiser on Wednesday October 17, 2012, in the Oshawa Whitby Clarington This Week on Wednesday October 17, 2012, and in the Toronto Star on Friday October 19, 2012.

Two Public Information Centres will be held during this study. Notices of the Public Information Centres will be published in local newspapers, sent to those on the Project Team's contact list, and posted on this website.

At the end of the study a Transportation Environmental Study Report will be prepared, which will be made available for public review and will document:

  • The transportation problems and opportunities;
  • The generation, assessment and evaluation of alternatives;
  • The recommended plan for this section of Highway 401;
  • A summary of potential environmental issues and mitigation measures; and
  • A summary of consultation undertaken throughout the study.

A notice announcing the placement of the Transportation Environmental Study Report on the public record for public review will also be published in local newspapers and a notice will be distributed to those who requested to be placed on the project contact list.