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Highway 7/8 Transportation Corridor Planning & Class EA Study

Post #313
01-03-2010 04:16 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 454
Canadian Monopoly - Vote for Kitchener & Nominate our Other Municipalities
Highway 7/8 Transportation Corridor Planning & Class EA Study
Greater Stratford to the New Hamburg Area


The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has initiated a Highway 7 and 8 Transportation Corridor Planning and Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Study, from Greater Stratford to the New Hamburg Area.

The study will:
  • develop a plan that addresses:
  • capacity, operation and safety needs for the 2-lane and 4-lane sections of Highway 7 and 8 between Stratford and New Hamburg and through the built-up areas of Stratford, Shakespeare and New Hamburg; and
  • linkage needs between the analysis area and other regions in the province.
  • prepare a preliminary design for the provincial roadway components of that plan; and
  • be documented in a Transportation Environmental Study Report for public review at study completion.

This study will also:
  • review and build on the findings of the Study Design Report completed by MTO in December 2005;
  • address the policies and growth forecasts of the final Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, released by the province on June 16, 2006; and
  • be carried out as a Group 'A' project, in accordance with the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities.

A major component of the study is an outreach and consultation program structured around six key points of decision-making, each of which will be supported by:
  • the release of a newsletter;
  • the release of draft reports for review and comment;
  • a round of Public Information Centres;
  • posting of information on the study web site; and
  • newspaper notices announcing the above.

For an overview of the study process click here .

MTO has retained Totten Sims Hubicki Associates (TSH) to provide professional consulting engineering services for this work. A Project Team consisting of MTO and TSH staff will be responsible for the completion of the Study.

Public Information Centres: http://www.7and8corridorstudy.ca/pics.html
Post #314
01-03-2010 04:23 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 1,665
WW Meet 2: Saturday May 29 4-7 PM
Future of Highway 7/8 set for public review
It's expected planning may take 3 years -- not fast enough for some
July 24, 2007

The future of Highway 7/8 linking Waterloo Region and Stratford is now under review.

Options range from doing nothing, to widening parts of the current highway, to building new sections on undetermined routes.

"Absolutely nothing has been determined at this stage," said Charles Organ, project manager for the Ministry of Transportation.

"We do have capacity deficiencies that need to be addressed."

Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson wants four lanes on the entire highway to improve truck access for Stratford factories.

"One of the things we often hear is that our community has that hurdle of not having four-lane access to (Highway) 401," he said.

Wilmot Township Mayor Wayne Roth opposes any new route that bypasses New Hamburg.

"If there's any complete diversion, we have a lot of businesspeople who would really suffer," Roth said.

"That would be quite a disaster for New Hamburg. I don't want to see that happen."

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation launched its Highway 7/8 review by announcing a series of public open houses. The first is set for tonight in New Hamburg.

Road planning is expected to take three years before a recommendation is made to the provincial government. Numerous public meetings are planned before then, and there's no timeline for construction.

Mathieson wants faster action by the province. "I think the province is allowing them to study this to death, which is something that has happened in the past."

Highway 7/8 consists of two lanes of opposing traffic, between Stratford and New Hamburg.

The road widens to four lanes in New Hamburg and is a divided highway east of New Hamburg.

Mathieson suggests the varied nature of the road, from a divided four-lane highway to two opposing lanes, encourages poor driver behaviour behind some grisly collisions.

Roth identified several challenges for Highway 7/8 planners, including:
  • The historic Fryfogel Tavern that sits next to the highway.
  • The village of Shakespeare that's built on the highway.
  • Farm buildings that are close to the highway.
  • Merchant opposition, in New Hamburg, to a bypass route.

"I think that's going to present some challenges, to come up with a final design that's going to sort of satisfy everyone," Roth said.

Mathieson says the province needs to expand Highway 7/8, even if it fails to achieve a consensus.

"It was 1974 when they last looked at doing this, and because the province couldn't build consensus, it never happened. We've lived with piecemeal work on that highway for that 32-year period. And now it's time for them to get serious, get the planning done and get on with construction."

This summer, Highway 7/8 is getting a $12-million facelift where it passes through New Hamburg.

This includes resurfacing for almost nine kilometres, better ditching and culverts, new traffic signals at Wilmot-Easthope Road and at Nafziger Road, and upgraded signals at Hamilton Road and at Peel Street.

Deadly Hwy 7/8 route needs addressing
September 27, 2008

Critics are rallying to persuade the province against a new highway from New Hamburg to Stratford.

Highway 7/8 is overwhelmed today. A replacement, north or south of the current highway, is one option under review in a Ministry of Transportation planning study.

Some farmers who might lose land to a new route are opposed. Merchants in New Hamburg are campaigning against any new route that bypasses their town.

Their concerns are important. But who's speaking for the dead?

Highway 7/8 is a killer road, among the most dangerous in Ontario, a Record survey has found.

Between 2000 and 2006, 13 people were killed in crashes along 29 kilometres from New Hamburg to Stratford, according to provincial collision records.

This puts it among Ontario's deadliest roads, including Highway 6 above Hamilton (18 killed in 24 kilometres) and Highway 69 in Parry Sound (15 killed in 25 kilometres).

The toll includes five killed in New Hamburg, on the undivided four-lane stretch, and seven killed between New Hamburg and Stratford, where the highway is two lanes.

Another 372 people were injured in crashes.

Highway 7/8 has lots of truck and tourist traffic but people still drive fast. In winter it can be a slippery mess, with reduced visibility.

Drivers make risky passing decisions. They crash head-on, they rear-end each other, and they slide on ice and snow.

Widening it is a challenge. There are homes fronting the road. A bypass would be needed to get around the village of Shakespeare.

Recent upgrades in New Hamburg, including a new traffic light, may improve safety there.

The best solution for traffic safety is to build a new highway with four divided lanes on a new route. There would be fewer head-on crashes, fewer rear-end crashes and no need for risky passing.

Farmers and merchants have legitimate concerns about losing farmland and customers. They have understandable private interests to protect.

There's also a public interest in preserving prime farmland, in supporting local businesses and in restraining highway costs.

Perhaps all these interests can be met in some way, as planners ponder highway options.

But the public interest in road safety can't be dismissed. There have been too many grisly collisions on Highway 7/8. Something has to be done.

Highway just fine now
October 02, 2008
Paul Knowles

Re: Deadly Hwy. 7/8 Route Needs Addressing -- Sept. 27

The column written by Jeff Outhit comes close to misrepresenting the position of the merchants and residents of New Hamburg.

While it is true, as he said, that we are campaigning against any new route that bypasses our town, that does not mean we are opposing a safer highway between New Hamburg and Stratford. Outhit notes that there have been five deaths along the New Hamburg stretch of Highway 7 and 8 since 2000. In the past year, however, the dangerous intersections have been made significantly safer with the addition of traffic lights. These sets of lights -- along with realigned intersections -- have solved the safety issues while creating little or no delay for motorists.

We oppose a new bypass further removed from entry points to the town because we already have the safe, modern, four-lane bypass that is Highway 7 and 8. No further changes are necessary for reasons of safety, or of efficiency.

What happens west of New Hamburg is not our issue. There are certainly good reasons for creating a four-lane highway in the two-lane section.

But we believe the town, travellers, and businesses, are all very well served with the current highway configuration in New Hamburg.

Paul Knowles, president
New Hamburg Board of Trade
New Hamburg
Post #315
01-03-2010 04:54 AM

Senior Moderator
Date Dec 2009 Location Kitchener-Waterloo Posts 1,665
WW Meet 2: Saturday May 29 4-7 PM
September 15, 2009

THAT the Regional Municipality of Waterloo express support for the “Existing Corridor” alternative through the New Hamburg area, and request the Ministry of Transportation to consider recommendations contained in Report P-09-067, dated September 15, 2009, relating to the Highway 7 & 8 Class Environmental Assessment.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is continuing work on the Highway 7 & 8 (Greater Stratford to New Hamburg Area) Class Environmental Assessment. Regional staff last briefed Council on the progress of the study in Report P-09-010 dated January 27, 2009. At the third round of Public Information Centres held in late July/early August, MTO presented the Preferred Corridor, which would use the existing highway corridor in the New Hamburg area. Regional staff concurs with the selection of the Existing Corridor as the preferred alternative in this area.

The study will now shift focus to examine highway access alternatives through the New Hamburg area. The evaluation of access control measures should consider the importance of impacts to the New Hamburg community, such as property impacts and maintaining existing access where possible. Accesses to the highway should be examined on a comprehensive basis to determine the correct balance of safety, convenience and efficient highway traffic operations. Also, strategic provincial planning of inter-regional public transit and Transportation Demand Management measures will help determine when and how improvements should be made to the Highway 7 & 8 corridor.
Post #2247
02-23-2010 10:51 PM

Construction Moderator
Date Jan 2010 Location Waterloo, ON Posts 319
MTO gives Perth East update on highway

A delegation from the Ministry of Transportation presented an update to Perth East council on what is happening with Highway 7/8.

The meeting took place Feb. 2.

The MTO is revisiting the Shakespeare area of the highway redevelopment after an overwhelming public outcry against a five-lane highway through the heart of the quiet village.

Council was presented with an overview of comments from the last public information sessions, along with an overview of the strategy for the second look at the Shakespeare area.

The last round of public meetings was held in July and August of 2009, where the MTO’s preferred option of widening the highway was presented.

Meetings with community groups continued in the fall.

Issues raised by the community included the movement of farm equipment, impact to agricultural lands, and the impact of homes and heritage property.

In Shakespeare, concerns over noise, vibrations and air quality were raised, along with pedestrian safety, snow removal and impacts to local businesses.

Those concerns have prompted the MTO to take a second look, and will consider alternative corridors.

A Public Information Centre will be held in Shakespeare early this summer.

No exact dates have been set. Potential new corridors will be considered both North and South of Shakespeare, while the original corridor through Shakespeare remains on the table.

Post #3264
03-18-2010 11:38 PM

Construction Moderator
Date Jan 2010 Location Waterloo, ON Posts 319
Shakespeare residents asked to draw routes for highway
By Tim Murphy | NEW HAMBURG INDEPENDENT | Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shakespeare residents are questioning the value of a highway meeting that took place last week.

The Ministry of Transportation held a community workshop on March 8 in Shakespeare to update residents on the progress of their study and to give residents another opportunity to provide input.

The purpose of the workshop was to share Shakespeare-related issues with the MTO, to identify additional criteria for evaluating routes and to identify potential new routes.

The method of identifying new routes was questioned by Shakespeare Business Association president Michael Byers.

Describing the process as “playing engineer,” Byers said, describing how residents were asked to draw their own highway route on a map of the Shakespeare area.

“All you’re going to do is draw a line over your neighbour’s house,” he said.

Byers said no information was presented to residents on how to design a road. Other than knowing a railway crossing requires an overpass, residents were free to put a road where they saw fit.

Residents drew lines all over the subject area, with some lines beyond the study area to the north or south.

“There was no information given on how to design a road.”

There was no mention of a hybrid design, Byers said, which would routecommercial traffic one way, and car and tourist traffic through the village.

“Which can easily be accommodated,” he said. What Byers wants to see is intelligent design.

Using the information the business association forwarded to the MTO last fall, he wants to see a solution that works for residents, businesses, customers and agriculture.

“I don’t think we need 250 people drawing lines on a map…we need good, creative, intelligent input.”

MTO Project manager Charles Organ said he felt the meeting was well received by the 180 people who signed in.

He said the interactive sessions allowed for people to express their ideas on where the highway should go.

“That input was good,” he said.

Organ said there was a variety of by-pass options north and south of the village, along with some outside the study area.

“We’re focusing on the Shakespeare area,” he said when asked if those out-of-bounds suggestion would be considered. Organ said much of the feedback they received was anticipated ahead of the meeting. The MTO and consultants will use the data in the next step of the study.

“We’re going to take a second look at all the viable alternatives in the Shakespeare area.”

The MTO is now reviewing all suggestions and will return to Shakespeare on March 27. A specific time and location has not yet been set for the meeting, but it is expected to take place in Shakespeare.


Post #27266
03-10-2011 07:44 AM

Joined Dec 2009
3644 posts
cc LRT Letters to letters@wonderfulwaterloo.com
March 8, 2011 | ROW Planning and Works Committee | Report: