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MARKHAM, Ont. — Opponents of the 407 Electronic Toll Road are calling on senior levels of government to launch extensive studies of the building of new highways north of Toronto.

Area residents and environmental groups are worried that Ontario’s campaign to upgrade and expand the province’s network of expressways will destroy thousands of hectares of prime farmland and degrade the economic and social wellbeing of areas such as the Oak Ridges Moraine.

Groups such as Friends of the Rouge Watershed have been staging protests and meetings in opposition of the construction already underway to lengthen Hwy. 407 by 16km. The group has pledged to block any further work, as well.

In March, Ontario Transportation Minister Brad Clark announced he and his staff were organizing all current and proposed expansions of the province’s highway network under the concept of “Smart Growth.”

As part of this strategy, the tolled Hwy. 407 could be lengthened an additional 45km to the east.

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