Wonderful Waterloo Archive

This site is maintained by Sam Nabi as a record of the vibrant Wonderful Waterloo community, which was taken offline in 2014. This site is a partial archive, containing some posts from 2009-2013. To read more about the recovery effort and access the data in a machine-readable format, check out the GitHub page.

Hwy. 401/8 Interchange

Post #283
01-03-2010 01:43 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 537
Canadian Monopoly - Vote for Waterloo
Highway 401/8 Interchange
Cambridge/Kitchener Border
Post #284
01-03-2010 01:43 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 537
Canadian Monopoly - Vote for Waterloo
20-year plan would reinvent Hwy. 401/8 interchange
Proposed traffic improvements would address industrial growth
January 31, 2008

Work starts next month on a study to transform Highway 8 and Highway 401 around the Toyota car assembly plant over the next two decades.

Provincial transportation officials intend to hire a consultant to investigate and propose:
  • improvements to the Highway 8/Sportsworld/Maple Grove interchange at the Cambridge-Kitchener boundary
  • improvements to the Highway 8 interchange with Highway 401 at the Cambridge-Kitchener border
  • adding another interchange to Highway 401 in the area of Speedsville Road in Cambridge.

The environmental assessment study would include a session to gather public comment.

Recommendations are expected by March, 2009.

For Cambridge planning commissioner Janet Babcock, there is an obvious need to improve traffic flow in and around Highways 8 and 401. That's where industrial growth is going in Cambridge, with another city industrial park expected to open this year, on Boxwood Drive beside Toyota.

"They're probably trying to look at some kind of rationalization of all the traffic infrastructure," she said of the provincial study.

Babcock wouldn't be surprised to see a plan that proposes a big flyover bridge to take traffic from Highway 8 southbound to Highway 401 westbound, giving Toyota better truck access to its new plant in Woodstock. The structure might look like the one that now carries Highway 8 traffic directly to the eastbound 401, she said.

Today, trucks in the Cambridge business park around Toyota take Maple Grove Road to Sportsworld Drive to King Street before entering the 401.

"Certainly, anything is going to be an improvement going west, from what we have now," said Eugene Moser, president of Challenger Motor Freight.

The company's headquarters and main terminal are about a kilometre east of the Sportsworld/Maple Grove/Highway 8 interchange.

"This is just a temporary solution right now, going and turning left on King," Moser said. "I don't think anybody ever thought that would be the ultimate solution."

Waterloo Region and provincial roads officials first met to discuss traffic troubles in the Highway 8/Sportsworld area in 2006. Businesses in the Cambridge Business Park want better access to the 401.

Graham Vincent, director of transportation planning with the region, wouldn't speculate about what changes the study might spawn to improve traffic flow in north Cambridge.

Babcock only learned of the provincial highway study when the Transportation Ministry objected to a housing subdivision plan along Limerick Road, south of the 401/8 interchange.

Ministry officials want to meet with their city and Waterloo Region counterparts in the next month or so to talk about the new highway study and how to allow the subdivision to proceed.

Babcock is anxious for the meeting, because major road changes might force the city to change how it plans growth along and north of Highway 401. The city's official plan review is underway and must take such potential road changes into consideration.

Already, city staff have delayed plans to repair bridges carrying Speedsville Road over the Speed River, from this year to 2010, because of the interchange study nearby on the 401.

The ministry also wants 2.1 hectares of the former Sportsworld property in Kitchener "protected for future interchange improvements" as part of widening plans underway along Highway 8 south, out of Kitchener.

Babcock wants to find out how the highway access study fits into other provincial road plans and studies.

She sees how the new study could knit separate highways together to better serve the district:

Plans to widen Highway 401 to 10 lanes through are already well advanced

Construction of a new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph has been approved

A new Highway 24 route, linking Cambridge and Brantford, is under study

"When you start putting together the parts . . . there's a lot of work that being planned for this region," Babcock said.
Post #285
01-03-2010 01:51 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 537
Canadian Monopoly - Vote for Waterloo
Planners rule out adding Highway 401 interchange at Speedsville Road
February 24, 2009

Highway planners have ruled out adding a Highway 401 interchange at Speedsville Road.

Such an interchange would damage Speed River wetlands, compromise traffic safety and worsen congestion, they contend.

"It would be a hindrance, adding an interchange at Speedsville," said Scott Howard, project manager for the Ministry of Transportation.

Instead, the ministry proposes better connections between Highway 401 and Highway 8, at an undefined cost exceeding $100 million. This proposal includes:

Two highway-to-highway ramps that would soar above a

reconfigured interchange at King Street.

A reconfigured interchange at Sportsworld Drive and Highway 8.

The proposal released yesterday is intended to improve Highway 401 access in south Kitchener and Cambridge. It has no launch date and is not among projects the province plans to construct within five years.

The rejection of an interchange at Speedsville Road was both panned and praised by residents at a public information centre.

"I think they should have had one 20 years ago," Jim Cassel said. "It's the industrial basin of the city."

Steve Halicki also feels Speedsville Road needs an interchange. "They've done this in Toronto," he said. "Why could they do it in Toronto but they can't do it here?"

Mike Dearden and Larry Johnston say Speedsville is the wrong place for another interchange. "It's too tight between Highway 24 and Highway 8 to put in another full

interchange," Dearden said.

"I fully understand the mess it would create on the 401," Johnston said.

Planners say Speedsville Road will get a new bridge over the 401 but not an interchange. They contend an interchange would:

Impact Speed River wetlands.

Increase traffic on Speedsville and Royal Oak roads.

This is because, in a short space heading up a steep hill, vehicles entering the 401 from Speedsville would have to weave against vehicles exiting the 401 at Highway 8.

Planners say this would "create conflicts, congestion and compromise traffic safety." In peak hours they predict westbound traffic would back up almost to Hespeler Road.

The ministry proposes instead to construct more flyover ramps where Highway 401 meets Highway 8.

Motorists heading out of Kitchener on Highway 8 would take a new flyover to go west on Highway 401. This would get them off King Street.

Motorists heading eastbound on Highway 401 would take a new flyover to enter Kitchener on Highway 8. This would get them off King Street. Interchanges at Sportsworld Drive and at King Street would be reconfigured to improve traffic flow.

This would consume nine hectares, disrupting a corner of the Sportsworld Crossing shopping plaza in Kitchener and part of a proposed Limerick Drive subdivision in Cambridge.

Affected developers are aware of highway plans.

DATE: March 31, 2009

THAT the Regional Municipality of Waterloo request the Ministry of Transportation to consider the recommendations contained in Report P-09-032, dated March 31, 2009, relating to the Class
Environmental Assessment for the Highway 8 and Highway 401 Interchange, including:
a) The Ministry of Transportation work with the Region through the Regional Transportation Master Plan process to consider establishing an additional interchange to Highway 401;
b) Transit priority measures, such as queue jump lanes and signal priority, be recognized in the Transportation Environmental Study Report and included in the detailed design of the Highway 8 and Sportsworld Drive interchange to assist transit operations;
c) Pedestrian improvements around the Highway 8 and Sportsworld Drive interchange be recognized in the Transportation Environmental Study Report and incorporated into the detailed design of the interchange in order to support planned public transit infrastructure; and
d) The Ministry of Transportation recognize the need for bus bypass shoulder lanes along Highway 8 and Highway 401 within the study area in the Transportation Environmental Study Report, and work with the Region to explore the feasibility of these lanes during detailed design.

Proposed highway interchange
Ray Martin, Times Staff
Oct 21, 2009 - 3:54 PM

Cambridge residents have until the end of the month to make final comments on a plan that will overhaul the Highway 401/8 interchange.

Over the last year, Ministry of Transportation officials have been working with consultants, city and regional staff on the environmental assessment (EA) study for the stretch of Highway 401 between the Speed and Grand rivers, and up Highway 8 to the interchange at Sportsworld Drive.

The recently completed study is the latest step towards revamping and upgrading the interchange to meet the growing volume of traffic heading into and out of Kitchener through Cambridge.

MTO public relations spokesperson Christina Martin told the Times the ongoing widening of Highway 8 north, off Sportsworld Drive, “was taken into account in the Highway 8/Highway 401 interchange improvement study”, however, “further EA work will be required as part of the future design process and before any construction could occur” at the Highway 401/8 interchange.

“These improvements are not part of the southern highways program, the ministry’s five-year construction program,” she said.

Working from east to west, the plan proposes to extend the existing bridge over Highway 401 at Speedsville Road and replace the Fountain Street bridge. A three-metre sound barrier would be installed from the Fountain Street bridge on the south side to the end of the eastbound on-ramp at the top of Shantz Hill Road. The Highway 401 off-ramp onto old King Street would also be reworked and a stoplight would be erected at the foot of the ramp.

Meanwhile, the Highway 401 off-ramp would be extended west across the Grand River on a new bridge. Along that new off-ramp, planners have designed another ramp leading to a two-lane flyover, which will allow eastbound traffic to pass over Highway 401 and onto the northbound Highway 8 near Sportsworld Drive.

At Sportsworld Drive, MTO officials are proposing to revamp the interchange, widening the bridge to accommodate more lanes of traffic and designing a new off-ramp for northbound traffic. They would also widen the Highway 401 overpass at King Street.

For southbound traffic heading to London off Highway 8, the MTO plan proposes a new two-lane ramp and a bridge crossing old King Street to Highway 401.

Also being proposed is high-mast lighting to better illuminate the interchange. Highway 8, between Sportsworld Drive and Highway 401, will be widened to six lanes, while Highway 401 is widened to eight lanes.

Currently, 95,000 vehicles annually use Highway 8 and that volume is anticipated to increase to 115,000 by 2021. Meanwhile, traffic volumes on Highway 401 at the interchange will increase from 130,000 vehicles annually to 175,000 by 2021.

At this point, no funding has been allocated to the project.

For comments or questions about the study, contact project manager Scott Howard at the Ministry of Transportation, 659 Exeter Rd., London, Ont., N6E 1L3, scott.howard@ontario.ca, or call 1-800-265-6072, or consultant project manager Gregg Cooke a Stantec Consulting Ltd. 1400 Rymal Rd. E., Hamilton, ON, L8W 3N9, gregg.cooke@stantec.com, or call collect 1-905-385-3234.

All comments must be received prior to Oct. 30.