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Author Topic: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway  (Read 11308 times)

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Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« on: July 08, 2016, 01:08:56 PM »

I've decided to make this a project of mine; I'm going take pictures for the project relevant to the overall Highway 7 Kitchener to Guelph Freeway!  :)

For those unfamiliar with the project, highway 7 is currently a two-lane road most of the way between Kitchener and Guelph, and is among the busiest two-lane roads in the province. Sections within the cities are four or five-lane arterials, but these still have many stoplights.

This project will have a four-lane controlled access freeway connecting Highway 85 around the Wellington St intersection in Kitchener to the Hanlon Highway 6 and 7 intersection in Guelph. Here's a map of the project (if this is out-of-date, please let me know!)

http://www.tritag.ca/static/uploads/Highway-7-Screengrab.png


From what I've heard, about half of the project's cost is around the Hwy 85 interchange. It's going to be an impressive four-level stack, and it'll be only the third one in Ontario. Here's a map of this interchange.

http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/attachments/highway-7-500k-png.48779/

The following paragraphs will relate to the Kitchener side of the project.

The old Factory Shoe building, and the Kitchener Glass building (both on the north side of Victoria St, on either side of 85) have been demolished, to make way for:
a) The 7 West to 85 South ramp and the Wellington St to Edna St Connector
b) The Bruce St extension

This picture shows the vacant lot where the Old Factory Shoe building used to be


Compare this with GSV from Sept 2015
https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.4618557,-80.47177,3a,75y,318.98h,87.5t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1shxRHPjBWH6cBYJ3-aSb6Cw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

These pictures show the vacant lot where the Kitchener Glass building used to be



Compare these with GSV from Sept 2015
https://www.google.ca/maps/@43.4624082,-80.4700996,3a,75y,3.64h,84.26t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1szPpHMbRgw65LZmW1k331kw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Also, widening of the Guelph St overpass on 85 has been completed, see the following photos below:



So... from what I've read the next few steps are as follows.

1) The Shirley Ave widening and realignment. Currently, Shirley Ave does a strange dip to the south near the Wellington St intersection. Shirley Ave is going to be changed to simply head straight to the Wellington St intersection, with the remaining "bent" portion left as a cul-de-sac. Also, Shirley Ave will be widened to 4-lanes plus a centre-turn lane (just like nearby Bingemans Centre Dr).

Here's a map to show what I'm saying. I took this from a this PDF and added the red circle myself:
http://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/Victoria-St.-Report.pdf



Here are some pictures to show what the Wellington St-Shirley Ave intersection currently looks like:

^ Shirley Ave will end up going straight through the grass in this picture, and the road on the right will become the cul-de-sac.


^ Shirley Ave will go behind that parking lot instead of bending to the left (Sorry, this photo's a bit blurry).

This was supposed to start in June 2016, so I might have to try calling someone to see why there isn't any construction yet (that I can see anyway)  :confused:

2) Victoria St bridge demolition, rebuilding the bridge with a longer span to accommodate future ramps, and widening to add a centre-turn lane. Relocation of utilities on the bridge is supposed to start this year and be wrapped-up by April 2017. Construction of the new bridge should start in 2017.

---------------

If anyone wants to help with this (contribute useful documents, take photos) or whatever, feel free to! (Especially the Guelph side). And if you have any questions or any photo requests, etc, let me know  :)


« Last Edit: July 08, 2016, 09:28:25 PM by 7/8 »
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2016, 03:44:35 PM »

^ Shirley Ave will go behind that parking lot instead of bending to the left (Sorry, this photo's a bit blurry).

This was supposed to start in June 2016, so I might have to try calling someone to see why there isn't any construction yet (that I can see anyway)  :confused:

Tender opening date for that project is July 12, so a contractor has not yet been brought on board for that phase of the project. Assuming all goes well, work should start in the next few weeks.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2016, 04:25:01 PM »

^ Shirley Ave will go behind that parking lot instead of bending to the left (Sorry, this photo's a bit blurry).

This was supposed to start in June 2016, so I might have to try calling someone to see why there isn't any construction yet (that I can see anyway)  :confused:

Tender opening date for that project is July 12, so a contractor has not yet been brought on board for that phase of the project. Assuming all goes well, work should start in the next few weeks.

Thanks for the update, I hope it starts soon. The current Shirley Ave-Wellington St intersection with the all-way stop is not sufficient during rush hour. It'll be nice when the traffic lights are put in.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2016, 09:06:45 PM »

I seriously thought this project was cancelled / moved back. I couldn't find anything on it. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough.

I've decided to make this a project of mine; I'm going take pictures for the project relevant to the overall Highway 7 Kitchener to Guelph Freeway!  :)

Thanks for volunteering. Street view (and the odd video) alone cannot quench my thirst for road construction update pics. If we had a greater following here in western Canada (and actual new projects in Manitoba) I would do the same. Unfortunately, there's not much to report here other than one interchange construction and rehab projects  :-/

It's going to be an impressive four-level stack, and there's only one other one in Ontario IIRC. Here's a map of this interchange.

Although that's correct, aren't the 403/410/401 interchange loops just about done? They've been working on that for what seems like forever. That would make that interchange a four level stack.

So this one will the third in Ontario (and maybe Canada?) when's it's done.

To be honest though, although this project is probably needed, I'd really like to see more twinning in the north. Whatever happened to the 17 twinning west of Kenora?

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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2016, 09:27:03 PM »

I seriously thought this project was cancelled / moved back. I couldn't find anything on it. Perhaps I didn't look hard enough.

It's surprisingly hard to find info on this. I guess that's because it's still in the early stages. Most news articles are from 2015  :-/

It's going to be an impressive four-level stack, and there's only one other one in Ontario IIRC. Here's a map of this interchange.

Although that's correct, aren't the 403/410/401 interchange loops just about done? They've been working on that for what seems like forever. That would make that interchange a four level stack.

So this one will the third in Ontario (and maybe Canada?) when's it's done.

I didn't know this, I'll adjust my original post. This reminds that I should read up on that project too  :)

To be honest though, although this project is probably needed, I'd really like to see more twinning in the north. Whatever happened to the 17 twinning west of Kenora?

Doing a quick search, I found this article. Sorry if you've read this already:
http://www.kenoradailyminerandnews.com/2016/05/19/move-for-highway-twinning-to-possibly-start-for-real

Quote
Kenora-Rainy River MPP Sarah Campbell introduced a motion for the completion of the Highway 17 twinning project from the Ontario-Manitoba border to Kenora on Thursday, May 19.

The motion asked that Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca take all steps to ensure the project is completed by 2020 with updates provided on its status to the House every six months.

All MPPs that spoke during the debate said they supported Campbell’s motion.

Liberal MPPs Kathryn McGarry and Marie-France Lalonde both said the government “remains committed” to the project, but did not give any specific updates. They also referred to the need for environmental clearances and Indigenous partnerships, as well as the highway twinning projects in progress for other sections of Highway 11/17.

I guess this is a start... Hopefully the government makes a commitment on this soon.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2016, 09:32:00 PM »

Thanks for volunteering. Street view (and the odd video) alone cannot quench my thirst for road construction update pics. If we had a greater following here in western Canada (and actual new projects in Manitoba) I would do the same. Unfortunately, there's not much to report here other than one interchange construction and rehab projects  :-/

If you ever end up taking pictures for any projects your way, I would certainly be interested in seeing them.  :) I plan on visiting Winnipeg in January 2017 for a Concrete Toboggan competition; I might not have much time to drive around, but I'd be interested in seeing any cool projects if there are any.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2016, 07:53:03 AM »

I don't think actual civil works for the Hwy 7-New project are going to start until either 2018 or 2019.  Between now and then I think it's just this preparatory work, and utility relocations.  I'd like to be wrong though, as I'd like to see the project start sooner than that.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2016, 09:17:32 PM »

I don't think actual civil works for the Hwy 7-New project are going to start until either 2018 or 2019.  Between now and then I think it's just this preparatory work, and utility relocations.  I'd like to be wrong though, as I'd like to see the project start sooner than that.

Unfortunately you're probably right. I know they can't start the 7/85 interchange until the bridge widenings are complete, but why can't they start the section between the two cities?

They already have all the properties acquired
http://www.therecord.com/news-story/5537853-all-land-purchased-for-new-highway-7-between-kitchener-and-guelph/

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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2016, 01:33:38 PM »

what about the missing ramps at HY 8 and the 401?
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2016, 05:18:09 PM »

what about the missing ramps at HY 8 and the 401?

That would be a separate project from this one. Unfortunately I haven't heard of any plans for this happening. I wish it would, and I wonder why they didn't build those ramps in the first place.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2016, 06:11:39 PM »

what about the missing ramps at HY 8 and the 401?

That would be a separate project from this one. Unfortunately I haven't heard of any plans for this happening. I wish it would, and I wonder why they didn't build those ramps in the first place.

Because their is already a ramp from King St just west of ON 8? I get that there should be a freeway-freeway connection, but perhaps it wasn't (or still isn't) needed or feasible.

https://goo.gl/maps/oduUMdY9YVR2

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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2016, 06:25:19 PM »

what about the missing ramps at HY 8 and the 401?

That would be a separate project from this one. Unfortunately I haven't heard of any plans for this happening. I wish it would, and I wonder why they didn't build those ramps in the first place.

Because their is already a ramp from King St just west of ON 8? I get that there should be a freeway-freeway connection, but perhaps it wasn't (or still isn't) needed or feasible.

https://goo.gl/maps/oduUMdY9YVR2

Yeah, it's not a huge deal. But it would be nice not having to go through 4 sets of lights between the two highways. And Waterloo Region is growing quickly, so it could be more of a problem in the future.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2016, 09:14:33 PM »

When the Highway 8/401 connector freeway was opened to traffic in 1987, the area surrounding King Street was still pretty rural, so motorists having to follow King Street wasn't much of an issue.  Today, that's obviously no longer the case.

The biggest issue with linking Highway 8 to Highway 401 to the west is that the new ramps will need to cross the Grand River.  MTO will be rehabbing/replacing the existing Grand River bridges that carry the 401 over the Grand River starting in a couple of years.  (Off the top of my head, I think work is supposed to start in 2019).  To stage the bridge work, the MTO will be widening the bridge deck to accommodate temporary traffic conditions.  After the bridge work has been completed, this extra space will be able to accommodate the speed change lanes for the new connector ramps.  All that said, it'll probably be 2025 or so before the Hwy 8 interchange is completed.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 09:19:25 PM by AsphaltPlanet »
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2016, 11:22:23 PM »

When the Highway 8/401 connector freeway was opened to traffic in 1987, the area surrounding King Street was still pretty rural, so motorists having to follow King Street wasn't much of an issue.  Today, that's obviously no longer the case.

The biggest issue with linking Highway 8 to Highway 401 to the west is that the new ramps will need to cross the Grand River.  MTO will be rehabbing/replacing the existing Grand River bridges that carry the 401 over the Grand River starting in a couple of years.  (Off the top of my head, I think work is supposed to start in 2019).  To stage the bridge work, the MTO will be widening the bridge deck to accommodate temporary traffic conditions.  After the bridge work has been completed, this extra space will be able to accommodate the speed change lanes for the new connector ramps.  All that said, it'll probably be 2025 or so before the Hwy 8 interchange is completed.

I hadn't thought about how close the interchange is to the Grand River. At least they have solid plans for this  :clap:

I just noticed today that Tri-City Driving Range has been demolished on Shantz Station Rd just north of Hwy 7. I know it's to make way for the new freeway, but I'm surprised it was demolished so soon. It doesn't look like any work will be done anytime soon, so what's the rush? I'll guess I'll have to find a new place to practice my swing :)
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2016, 12:32:06 PM »

Finally, a recent news article about this project
Ontario government selling 3 heritage homes between Guelph and Kitchener

Quote
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has three stone farmhouses for sale on properties between Kitchener and Guelph, but there is a catch — you have to move them.

"These heritage buildings are on properties that were required for construction of the new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph. The ministry needs that property to build the highway, but we're offering these buildings for resale and relocation in order to hopefully increase the chance that they can be conserved," Liane Fisher, communications co-ordinator for the ministry's west region office in London, told CBC News.

Anyone interested in the properties has until Friday to express interest. So far, there have been about 30 inquiries about the buildings, Fisher said.

Is anyone here thinking of buying a house, or maybe 3? :)

Quote
If sold, the houses will need to be moved by the end of 2017 in order to make way for work that needs to be done to prepare for the new highway, which has been long promised by the province.

This suggests that there won't be much (if any) work going on between Kitchener and Guelph until the end of 2017 or even 2018.

Quote
Last year, the Guelph Street bridge was widened and Fisher said they will soon be awarding contracts to realign Shirley Avenue and work around the Victoria Street bridge in Kitchener.

Fisher acknowledged the houses need to be moved quickly because "there's a lot of work that has to happen in the near future," including utility relocation.

I guess they still haven't awarded these contracts yet :/
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2016, 01:12:17 PM »

I guess they still haven't awarded these contracts yet :/

The tender's been withdrawn, so clearly there were some issues with the process.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2016, 01:04:50 PM »

Has anyone been able to find detailed drawings for this project, similar to the image quoted below? In particular, I would like to find a good drawing for the future 6/7 interchange in Guelph.


http://urbantoronto.ca/forum/attachments/highway-7-500k-png.48779/
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2016, 02:11:06 PM »

When I check this Hwy-7 freeway proposal, I wonder if they could extend east of Guelph to a possible future highway who'll be located north of Hwy-407? http://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/2978750-will-halton-hills-become-the-byway-for-a-new-highway-/

While we're at it, let's also extend the Hanlon Expwy north to Fergus.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2016, 05:52:51 PM »

When I check this Hwy-7 freeway proposal, I wonder if they could extend east of Guelph to a possible future highway who'll be located north of Hwy-407? http://www.insidehalton.com/news-story/2978750-will-halton-hills-become-the-byway-for-a-new-highway-/

That's certainly ambitious; I'm just hoping the current proposal will get built on time! :-D This idea would certainly relieve some traffic on the 401, and it would be nice having a quick freeway route to the 400 that doesn't involve 407 tolls :)

While we're at it, let's also extend the Hanlon Expwy north to Fergus.

I would argue that the higher priority should be converting the at-grade intersections on the current Hanlon to interchanges. I don't take the Hanlon too often, but I could imagine how frustrating all the traffic signals would be. At least this current project will get rid of one of those signals (Woodlawn Rd).
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2016, 10:54:05 AM »

At present the intention is to convert the Hanlon at grade intersections to interchanges/grade separations. Though the SHP does not have firm timelines, beyond what has been already announced.

A northern extension of the Hanlon to bypass the built up area of Guelph has been studied in the past, but there are no plans to move forward with it in the foreseeable future. The section of Woodlawn Rd that Highway 6 follows at this time isn't quite as critical as other locations just yet.
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #20 on: August 23, 2016, 08:20:11 PM »

Yay! There's finally news on the Shirley Ave widening in Kitchener, which is a requirement for the new Hwy 7 freeway. I guess I'll be using 85 to get to school to avoid this construction :)

This article from the Waterloo Record is from Friday:
http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6815789-work-to-begin-soon-on-widening-shirley-avenue-bottleneck/

Quote
KITCHENER — Shirley Avenue will be widened to ease congestion and prepare for the new Highway 7 between Kitchener and Guelph.

Work should begin later this month on the road in east Kitchener. It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2017.


"This certainly is an exciting day," Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic said to a small gathering of politicians and officials alongside Shirley Avenue for a ceremonial groundbreaking on Thursday afternoon.

"By getting this started, this certainly gets the ball rolling."

Shirley Avenue, which connects Wellington Street and Bingemans Centre Drive, will be widened from two to four lanes, realigned, and a two-way left-turn lane will be added.

The project also includes reconstructing a section of Wellington Street North, and adding sidewalks and bike lanes on Shirley. The $11-million contract was awarded to Aecon Construction and Materials Ltd. of Toronto.


Bingemans Centre Drive is four lanes, then it shrinks to two as it becomes Shirley.

"As you drive down here, it tightens and then there's a bottleneck," said Kitchener Centre MPP Daiene Vernile, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Transportation.

The improvements are part of the initial phases of the long-awaited Highway 7 expansion. Widening the Guelph Street bridge along Highway 85 was completed last fall, and after this comes replacing the Victoria Street bridge with a wider span.

"As you know, highway projects do take time," Vernile said.

The new four-lane divided highway will run parallel to the current Highway 7, and Shirley Avenue will form part of the interchange between the new highway and Highway 85.

Vrbanovic is excited to see the project get underway, saying that the economy depends on the efficient movement of people and goods.

Often that's not the case on Shirley Avenue, and congestion on Highway 7 can slow traffic to a crawl as about 160,400 vehicles travel along that two-lane stretch daily.

"That's only going to increase as time goes on," Vrbanovic said.

The Shirley Avenue work is a clear indication of the province's commitment to the highway project that's been a local priority for decades, he said.

"There's a lot of preparatory work that needs to be done," Vrbanovic said. "Now we're at the phase where they've started the work."

The downside is more construction for a city and region already dealing with extensive construction for the new light rail transit system.

But the short-term hassle is worth it, Vrbanovic said.

"In the end, we'll have something great for the community."
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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2016, 04:41:36 PM »

On Monday, I noticed the construction sign saying Wellington St WB from Shirley Ave to Hwy 85 would be closed starting Tuesday:



So, I ended up driving through today and noticed some early progress is being made. I took a few photos from my car.

Lots of pylons along the south side of Shirley Ave:


Earth being moved along the north side of the street:



Wellington St WB blocked off with pylons. You can see the asphalt has been ripped out (next time I'll park in the nearby lot and get out, to get a better view of what's going on).


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compdude787

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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2016, 12:10:09 AM »

Wow, 160,000 vehicles on a two lane road?!?!? That's a LOT!!! They really need a freeway there!

Alps

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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2016, 05:43:41 PM »

Wow, 160,000 vehicles on a two lane road?!?!? That's a LOT!!! They really need a freeway there!
I feel like an extra zero got in there and the article meant 16,400. Which is still a lot for a 2 lane road.

cbeach40

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Re: Ontario Hwy 7: Kitchener to Guelph Freeway
« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2016, 09:22:07 AM »

Wow, 160,000 vehicles on a two lane road?!?!? That's a LOT!!! They really need a freeway there!
I feel like an extra zero got in there and the article meant 16,400. Which is still a lot for a 2 lane road.

Likely what they were going for, though that data is old. Most recent data is 21,800 AADT.
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