TORONTO, Ont. — Infrastructure Ontario has released a request for qualifications (RFQ) to extend toll route Highway 407 eastward from Brock Road in Pickering to Simcoe Street in Oshawa and provide a new link east of Lakeridge Road, from Highway 407 East to Highway 401. The RFQ is the first step in the process to select a team to design, construct and maintain the new Highway 407 East extension. Request for proposals are expected to be sent to short-listed teams later this year.
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says that the extension of Highway 407 eastwards makes sense in terms of the long-term economic prospects for the province, especially given Oshawa’s strategic role in the automotive manufacturing industry. OTA president, David Bradley, says the release of the RFQ is an indication of the Government of Ontario’s continued commitment to highway infrastructure investment. He also says “the extension eastwards means that Highway 407 would come closer to being the true Toronto bypass that it was intended to be.”
Bradley concedes that many trucking companies consider the current level of tolls on Highway 407 to be prohibitively expensive. “It’s a pure economic decision for carriers whether they feel the congestion cost savings from using Highway 407 exceed the toll costs. They have the option of not using the toll route if they feel it is uneconomical for them to do so. By creating a true bypass of Toronto’s busiest stretch of highway the equation changes. I suspect more will use the extended highway – especially those operating between the eastern part of Ontario or Montreal and the Michigan-Ontario border – but that decision is still a ways off. We are really just at the beginning of the process.”
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