Roads & Bridges
Roads & Paving
401 widening from Pickering to Belleville takes first step forward
May 3, 2022 By Don Horne
A major plank of Doug Ford’s 2022 Ontario Budget recognizes that Highway 401, North America’s busiest roadway, needs widening to six and eight lanes from Pickering to Brockville to handle increasing traffic volumes – and that means bridges connecting the local Bay of Quinte and Hasting-Lennox and Addington ridings will soon be widened, and Belleville will gain a new interchange and city access with the construction of the Belleville East Arterial Road (BEAR).
BEAR was first mentioned officially by the province on April 21 with the release of “Connecting the East: a draft transportation plan for eastern Ontario”. (https://www.ontario.ca/page/connecting-east-draft-transportation-plan-eastern-ontario)
Bay of Quinte MPP Todd Smith and Hastings-Lennox and Addington MPP Daryl Kramp spoke at a media conference along with Belleville Mayor Mitch Panciuk, Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrison and lennox and Addington County Warden Ric Bresee heralding the announcement of the 401 widening between Quinte West and Belleville.
“We all worked to get the 401 widened and the BEAR interchange included in the plan for eastern Ontario,” said MPP Smith, also Ontario’s Minister of Energy. “Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney listened to what we said on making the 401 safer by widening to six lanes and ensuring Belleville is ready for the future with BEAR.”
“Everyone in this area knows Belleville is growing fast,” said MPP Kramp. “BEAR will make a big difference and really help the city and region. And these road construction and bridge engineering projects will provide a lot of local employment. Great credit goes to the mayors and Minister Smith for their successful lobbying efforts.”
Highway 401 carries, on average, 17,000 trucks per day with commodities valued at $615 million per day. About $75 million worth of U.S.-related trade moves through this corridor. Queen’s Park is undertaking early works and property acquisitions along Highway 401, including bridge replacements in Oshawa and Port Hope. This work will enable future widening of Highway 401 to relieve congestion starting at Brock Road in Pickering and through Eastern Ontario. Expanding Highway 401 will help fight gridlock and make the trip easier for people travelling along the corridor.
Work to expand Highway 401 includes:
- Bridge replacement in Oshawa to facilitate future widening between Brock Road in Pickering through to Highway 35/115.
- Bridge replacement in Port Hope to facilitate future widening between Highway 35/115 through to Belleville.
- Land acquisitions to facilitate future widening of Highway 401 through Belleville, Napanee and Brockville.
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