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Author Topic: Ontario's Highways  (Read 276834 times)

cbeach40

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #900 on: August 08, 2017, 02:29:15 PM »

I can see that it is closer to Clarington; but, marginally at best.  The freeway gap between 407 and 115 is only going to be about 4 miles apart.  Are there plans at some point to convert those few miles over to full freeway?

No active plans. Very generally speaking, given its functional classification (Freeway/staged freeway) when it comes up for rebuild the Ministry would look at safety improvements which would include but not be limited to removing entrances and side road access. But with that, there's issues of impacts to property access and the related costs, so until a detail design comes forward there's no guarantee.
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Stephane Dumas

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #901 on: August 08, 2017, 04:36:51 PM »

I got the feeling then once Hwy-407 is open to 35/115, Peterborough will see some growth then some folks had probably underestimated.
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vdeane

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #902 on: August 08, 2017, 09:38:39 PM »

If I had my way, 35/115 would be upgraded to a freeway past the 407 interchange and made into an extension of ON 407 to Peterborough.

I do find it interesting that Canada seems to be much more tolerant of at-grades than the US.  In addition to this, AB 2 has numerous at-grades between Calgary and Edmonton, the autoroutes have a few sections with at-grades (including one that is just a random two lane road), and the majority of even the otherwise freeway-freeway border crossings have an at-grade or two on the Canadian side.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #903 on: August 08, 2017, 10:53:52 PM »

No active plans. Very generally speaking, given its functional classification (Freeway/staged freeway) when it comes up for rebuild the Ministry would look at safety improvements which would include but not be limited to removing entrances and side road access. But with that, there's issues of impacts to property access and the related costs, so until a detail design comes forward there's no guarantee.

A consultant assignment for the the detail design of a resurfacing contract that included (presumably minor) operational improvements went out this spring.
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AsphaltPlanet

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #904 on: August 09, 2017, 08:57:37 AM »

The MTO has currently posted a consultant assignment for the realignment of the 401 through the Leslie Street interchange 19 meters to the south.  Construction started earlier this year on the project that will see the eastbound off-ramp to Leslie Street replaced and realigned.  The second contract will see the eastbound collector lanes moved to the south from their current alignment.

While the eastbound off-ramp to Leslie Street will be widened from one to two lanes, the eastbound collector lanes are not planned to be widened from three to four lanes (though there will be an extra wide right shoulder through the project).

The detail design work is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2019, so presumably actual construction would start in the spring of 2020.



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The ministry completed a preliminary design study for the rehabilitation of Highway 401 express and collector lanes from Leslie Street to Warden Avenue (Highway 401 Preliminary Design – Leslie Street to Warden Avenue, August 2012). The study made several recommendations for the rehabilitation of Highway 401/Leslie Street Interchange, including the re-alignment of the interchange to the south, replacement of all 12 bridges located within the interchange and widened of the W-N/S Ramp from 1 to 2 lanes on a new alignment.

Highway 401/Leslie Street Interchange

The re-alignment section at Leslie Interchange, including transition to the existing highway sections at both ends, is approximately 1.8km in length, extending approximately 800m west of the Leslie Street to approximately 1000m to the east of Leslie Street. The maximum shift of the re-alignment is approximately 19m.

The ministry will carry out the realignment of the interchange and replacement of the bridges within the interchange in a series of contracts, moving along from a south-to north direction.

The first contract to replace the existing W-N/S Ramp (Contract 2016-2048) is currently under construction.

The second contract, as an integral part of this assignment, includes the construction of the new eastbound collector lanes at the interchange.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 09:41:47 AM by AsphaltPlanet »
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cbeach40

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #905 on: August 09, 2017, 11:46:37 AM »

If I had my way, 35/115 would be upgraded to a freeway past the 407 interchange and made into an extension of ON 407 to Peterborough.

Or give it a unique number as the one highway tees into the other rather than forming a straight through movement, it's not toll like the rest of 407 is, and originally 428 was reserved for at least a portion of the 115 route anyway.


I do find it interesting that Canada seems to be much more tolerant of at-grades than the US.

Not to knee jerk react to your point, but that's completely the opposite of true. Yes, Western Canada has a lot of divided roads with at-grade intersections, but the Western US has a lot more of them - with a lot greater population living along it. To say nothing of the Eastern US, where the population is even more dense but divided highways with at-grade intersections are still prevalent.

I mean, when we talk about four lane divided highways with at-grade intersections, the informal name we use for them is "US-style divided highways"   :eyebrow:

In addition to this, AB 2 has numerous at-grades between Calgary and Edmonton,

There's several at-grade intersections between Detroit and Columbus, two much larger metro areas about the same distance apart.

the autoroutes have a few sections with at-grades (including one that is just a random two lane road),

Yeah, maybe those sections should have Québec's 100-series numbering rather than Autoroute, given the design. But it is just "a few sections" there.


and the majority of even the otherwise freeway-freeway border crossings have an at-grade or two on the Canadian side.

Well, two of them do (I-95 & NB-95, I-91 & A-55). The other five:
- I-87 & A-15 - At grade intersections and entrances on both sides
- I-190 & ON-405 has entrances on both sides (Duty free, etc)
- I-69/94 & ON-402 has entrances on the Canadian side (again, Duty free/currency exchange)
- I-190 & QEW - Signalized intersection and entrances on US side
- I-5 & BC-99 - at-grade intersection on Canadian side, but crosswalks on both sides (which is so, so much worse for a freeway)

I excluded customs services and parking lots above, otherwise every last one of them would not be a freeway. That being said, whether a border approach is a freeway or not is completely irrelevant if there's a customs booth on the highway and it's not free-flow. The only advantages of a freeway approach with that interruption is to isolate the border traffic from local traffic, and to provide greater storage for queued vehicles.

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vdeane

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #906 on: August 09, 2017, 01:21:26 PM »

I-87/A-15 has an at-grade on the Canadian side... what I assume you're referring to on the US side I consider part of the plaza.  It's harldy noticeable when driving, though, while the Canadian one has stop signs.

I count duty free/currency exchange as similar to a service plaza (albeit a substandard one, more similar to the gas stations on some NYC parkways/expressways than a Turnpike or ONRoute plaza).

I-190/QEW does not have a traffic light any more and is a true freeway/freeway interchange on the US side now.

I-5/BC 99 is indeed weird that way, thanks to the Peace Arch.  Again, though, very noticeable at-grade, for a function that has zero to do with customs.

I would not compare AB 2 to Detroit/Columbus.  AB 2, at least between Calgary and Edmonton, is Alberta's 401, and functionally a freeway with a ton of at-grades (it's even marked as a freeway on maps).  Winnipeg has a beltway that is more non-freeway than freeway.  In the US, we have the interstate system, which aside from a few exceptions hated by roadgeeks, does not have at-grades.  Aside from Ontario's 400 series highways (didn't ON 406 have at-grades recently?), Canada has no equivalent, though the Autoroutes come close (fix A-55 and A-20 and do something about A-30 and A-955, and I'd call it close enough; I'm willing to forgive the super-2s and the remaining sections with at-grades that I did not list, though I can't say I care for them).
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rickmastfan67

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #907 on: August 09, 2017, 10:23:14 PM »

I-190/QEW does not have a traffic light any more and is a true freeway/freeway interchange on the US side now.

When did that change?  Haven't been up there in since I think '08.  And StreetView from 9/14 still shows the light.  And Google Satellite still shows it as well.

jakeroot

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #908 on: August 09, 2017, 10:43:32 PM »

- I-5 & BC-99 - at-grade intersection on Canadian side, but crosswalks on both sides (which is so, so much worse for a freeway)

The Peace Arch Park sits right between the two carriageways. They could build a bridge or under crossing but it might ruin the ambiance of the park. Plus the speed limit is already so low approaching the crossing, and there's a bunch of raised crossings and speed bumps.

Doesn't change the fact that it's not freeway-to-freeway but I'm not sure it has to be. I would like to see that Beach Road intersection modified, but I'm not sure what the best course of action would be.
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haljackey

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #909 on: August 10, 2017, 01:49:27 PM »

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vdeane

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #910 on: August 10, 2017, 01:53:30 PM »

To take a more comprehensive inventory of Canadian "freeways" that aren't:
-British Columbia: BC 19 and TCH 1 both have sections with at-grades.  BC 99 has an at-grade north of the border (yes, I-5 does have crosswalks, but they are within the customs area, so IMO they don't count).  There is no freeway connecting BC 99 to TCH 1; BC 17 does not count as it has numerous at-grades.  BC 97C does not connect to BC 5.  TCH 1 still diverts off the freeway despite the tolls being removed.
-Alberta: AB 2 is supposedly a freeway between Calgary and Edmonton, and is arguably the most important road is all of Alberta, yet it has numerous at-grades.  I-15 to Calgary would seem to be a perfect freeway corridor, yet there is none there.
-Manitoba: Do I REALLY need to talk about Manitoba?  It kinda personifies my point.  Seriously, just look at their sorry excuse for a beltway.
-Ontario: ON 17 has at-grades on the eastern part of the freeway near Sudbury.  ON 35/ON 115 already mentioned, but it's worth mentioning that traffic moving between the freeway sections of ON 115 and ON 407 will have to endure part of it.  ON 11 is a textbook case.  ON 406 was fixed.  ON 137 is forgivable.  Major Breezewood between ON 417 and A-5.
-Quebec: Numerous examples, most notably A-30, A-55, and A-955, but occasional at-grades exist even on areas that are otherwise freeways, including A-440 and north of border crossings.
-New Brunswick: The majority of the "freeway system" is like this.  NB 1 and TCH 2 are actually the exceptions.
-Nova Scotia: Similar to New Brunswick though less extreme, but there is a plan to fix it, so I'll let it slide.
-Prince Edward Island: N/A
-Newfoundland and Labrador: Really the only complaint I have about them is the signage and use of sequential exit numbers, neither of which is applicable to this thread.  The population density does not warrant connecting the two freeway sections of TCH 1.

I-190/QEW does not have a traffic light any more and is a true freeway/freeway interchange on the US side now.

When did that change?  Haven't been up there in since I think '08.  And StreetView from 9/14 still shows the light.  And Google Satellite still shows it as well.
Just last year.  Street view from Porter Ave is mostly updated.  There is now a roundabout at the ramp to I-190 north with a second ramp replacing Baird Drive.
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cbeach40

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #911 on: August 14, 2017, 04:40:41 PM »

I-87/A-15 has an at-grade on the Canadian side... what I assume you're referring to on the US side I consider part of the plaza.  It's harldy noticeable when driving, though, while the Canadian one has stop signs.

Yes, it's part of the plaza, where it sends trucks for inspection on one side of the highway to the other. If you're going to go with completely freeway design standards (which again, in the low speed interrupted flow conditions in the vicinity of border inspections makes ZERO sense), then having low speed truck cross traffic is the second worst case scenario. If you accept it as not a freeway as the volumes and driver expectancy will allow for it, then it's not a problem.

I-190/QEW does not have a traffic light any more and is a true freeway/freeway interchange on the US side now.

Well, freeway to a 1-2 (variable) lane section over the bridge. So, like all but the Blue Water Bridge, not a freeway cross section across the river.

I-5/BC 99 is indeed weird that way, thanks to the Peace Arch.  Again, though, very noticeable at-grade, for a function that has zero to do with customs.

And how is that a problem? How is it a problem on a road with a 60 km/h limit and interrupted flow in the vicinity?

I would not compare AB 2 to Detroit/Columbus.  AB 2, at least between Calgary and Edmonton, is Alberta's 401, and functionally a freeway with a ton of at-grades (it's even marked as a freeway on maps).

NL-500 between Labrador City and Goose Bay is "Labrador's 401"* - should it be a freeway? Or is it built to the standard appropriate for its traffic?
If there are "a ton of at-grades" then functionally it's not a freeway. If maps say it is, then the maps are wrong.

And you're right, AB-2 is not an appropriate comparison to US-23 in Ohio - the latter is much busier.


Winnipeg has a beltway that is more non-freeway than freeway.

Considering the volumes on a lot of it are more comparable to a typical neighbourhood collector road than to an urban freeway, there might be a point to building it that way and upgrading as required.

In the US, we have the interstate system, which aside from a few exceptions hated by roadgeeks, does not have at-grades.

There's also nine times as many people, and they're far more widely distributed than in Canada.

And that's really the issue here. In the US, there's the Interstates and other freeways, then you have divided highways, and conventional highways. And it's a pretty extensive network of all. In Canada, the only place where we have that kind of developed multi-level network - and population density - is in the Windsor-Quebec City Corridor. Other than that, development are comparatively very isolated from one another. So there aside from those urban areas and specific sites where there are operation or safety concerns, there isn't the traffic to justify removing the at-grade intersections.

So per the original point that Canada is more tolerant of at-grades than the US, the more accurate point is the mostly empty Western Canada builds them a lot outside of urban areas, but since this is the Ontario thread that's off-topic, not to mention a completely inappropriate comparison as the design priorities, standards, and pressures are vastly different there than here. Ontario build divided highways with at-grade intersections sparingly compared to many of our neighbours (eg, Ohio's James A. Rhodes Appalachin Highway is longer than the combined length of all divided highways with at-grades intersections in the entire province). And more than half of those Ontario ones are slated for upgrade to a full freeway in the immediate to near future.

Aside from Ontario's 400 series highways (didn't ON 406 have at-grades recently?),

The southern portion of Highway 406 was recently upgraded from a two lane staged freeway to a full freeway for its length.
400-series standards include:
- Be a divided highway consisting of two or more lanes in each direction separated by a median area or physical barrier in compliance with current design standards for freeways.
- Be controlled by access and egress provided only at interchanges through the use of ramps with acceleration and deceleration lanes and tapers in compliance with current design standards for freeways.
- Be able to be posted at 100 km/h. Shorty segments below that are permitted, but not if they occur frequently.
- Prohibit use by bicycles and pedestrians.
- Prohibit parking, except in emergencies.
- Be free from at-grade rail crossings, lift bridges or any other features that would impede the free flow of traffic

-Alberta: AB 2 is supposedly a freeway between Calgary and Edmonton, and is arguably the most important road is all of Alberta, yet it has numerous at-grades.  I-15 to Calgary would seem to be a perfect freeway corridor, yet there is none there.

Again, AB-2 is not supposedly a freeway, yes it stall has at-grades but volumes on that road aren't particularly high in the sections that have those. South of Calgary volumes are pretty low (~8000 vpd) to Lethbridge, south of there to I-15 they're dead (~2000 vpd). The latter daily two-way volume is less than the hourly capacity of a single freeway lane, let alone be "perfect" for four freeway lanes.

-Manitoba: Do I REALLY need to talk about Manitoba?  It kinda personifies my point.  Seriously, just look at their sorry excuse for a beltway.

The only parts with any appreciable amounts of traffic already have interchanges. Much of it is pretty dead.

-Ontario: ON 17 has at-grades on the eastern part of the freeway near Sudbury.

Highway 17 in that area is classified as an arterial highway. The portion that was built as a freeway runs between the two junctions of RR-55 and there is not a single at-grade intersection between them.


ON 35/ON 115 already mentioned, but it's worth mentioning that traffic moving between the freeway sections of ON 115 and ON 407 will have to endure part of it.

"Endure" it? What is there to "endure" for that section? There's no cross traffic as it's a RIRO expressway, so that immediately makes it safer than a US-style divided highway. Northbound there is one sideroad - with speed change lanes - and only 5 property accesses. Southbound there's two sideroads (again, with speed change lanes so they wouldn't disqualify it as a freeway), and four properties with access. Not mention the fact that de facto speed change lanes do exist for those entrances as drivers make use of the shoulders for that.

Just because it's not a full freeway doesn't mean it has to be "endured". There are countless sections of proper freeway with far worse design features that will slow down traffic or be far more succeptable to collisions than that section of Hwy 35/115.


ON 11 is a textbook case.

Of a RIRO expressway in Simcoe County and a US-style divided highway in Parry Sound-Muskoka Districts? Yup. It's not a freeway, nor is it supposed to be. Will it be eventually? Yes, that's the ultimate plan. But like those countless other roads like US-15 in PA or US-169 southwest of Minneapolis, right now it serves a function greater than a two lane highway but less than a freeway.


ON 406 was fixed.  ON 137 is forgivable.

Forgivable? It's a two lane arterial highway between a two lane bridge and the border. It takes relatively low volumes. There's no benefit to upgrading it. If anything, the two lane portion of I-81 (with entrances!) at the southern TIB are far more problematic than that bit of Hwy 137 on the island there.

Major Breezewood between ON 417 and A-5.

The problem there isn't freeway-freeway connectivity. The problem is trucks through downtown Ottawa. Considering the conceptual tunnel plan (estimated at $2 billion) didn't even include a freeway connection, that really speaks to what the real problem is.

-Nova Scotia: Similar to New Brunswick though less extreme, but there is a plan to fix it, so I'll let it slide.

Yet the numerous plans to upgrade most of Ontario's US-style and RIRO highways you won't?  :hmmm:

-Newfoundland and Labrador: Really the only complaint I have about them is the signage and use of sequential exit numbers, neither of which is applicable to this thread.  The population density does not warrant connecting the two freeway sections of TCH 1.

Haha, yup.
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vdeane

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #912 on: August 14, 2017, 10:22:16 PM »

Yes, it's part of the plaza, where it sends trucks for inspection on one side of the highway to the other. If you're going to go with completely freeway design standards (which again, in the low speed interrupted flow conditions in the vicinity of border inspections makes ZERO sense), then having low speed truck cross traffic is the second worst case scenario. If you accept it as not a freeway as the volumes and driver expectancy will allow for it, then it's not a problem.
FYI, I favor the removal of the border stations ASAP.  A lack of freeway-standard facilities would become an issue if our politicians came to their senses and gave us a North American Schengen Area.  One should not have to justify themselves to an authoritarian government official with God-like authority within their little complex to cross a line on a map.

At least as long as the Mourons don't cause more trouble, we should have a non-Breezewood border crossing in a few years.

Quote
Well, freeway to a 1-2 (variable) lane section over the bridge. So, like all but the Blue Water Bridge, not a freeway cross section across the river.
Super-2s are a thing here.

Quote
And how is that a problem? How is it a problem on a road with a 60 km/h limit and interrupted flow in the vicinity?
See beginning of post.  If my vision came to pass, the US would be (mostly) ready (ironically), while Canada would be scrambling to make upgrades.

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If there are "a ton of at-grades" then functionally it's not a freeway. If maps say it is, then the maps are wrong.
Drop street view on the road, and it looks just like an interstate otherwise; all the roads that the vast majority of traffic would be interested in getting off at are interchanges, and it has exit numbers.  Enough said.

Quote
And you're right, AB-2 is not an appropriate comparison to US-23 in Ohio - the latter is much busier.
THAT boggles the mind.  Calgary has over a million people.  Edmonton has 900k.  That's more than most US cities.  They're only 200 miles apart.  That's not much less dense that upstate NY.  Where are all the people driving between them?

Quote
Considering the volumes on a lot of it are more comparable to a typical neighbourhood collector road than to an urban freeway, there might be a point to building it that way and upgrading as required.
That boggles the mind too.  Winnipeg has over 700k people, and that beltway is a typical distance away from downtown.  How is it not horribly congested?

Quote
There's also nine times as many people, and they're far more widely distributed than in Canada.

And that's really the issue here. In the US, there's the Interstates and other freeways, then you have divided highways, and conventional highways. And it's a pretty extensive network of all. In Canada, the only place where we have that kind of developed multi-level network - and population density - is in the Windsor-Quebec City Corridor. Other than that, development are comparatively very isolated from one another. So there aside from those urban areas and specific sites where there are operation or safety concerns, there isn't the traffic to justify removing the at-grade intersections.
Most of our population is concentrated in the coasts, a distribution that was even more extreme when the interstate system was conceived.  And yet, we have them all over.

Quote
Again, AB-2 is not supposedly a freeway, yes it stall has at-grades but volumes on that road aren't particularly high in the sections that have those. South of Calgary volumes are pretty low (~8000 vpd) to Lethbridge, south of there to I-15 they're dead (~2000 vpd). The latter daily two-way volume is less than the hourly capacity of a single freeway lane, let alone be "perfect" for four freeway lanes.
I can't imagine I-15 has much more traffic.

Quote
Highway 17 in that area is classified as an arterial highway. The portion that was built as a freeway runs between the two junctions of RR-55 and there is not a single at-grade intersection between them.
And I suppose the question is, why was one part made a full freeway and the other part a super-2 with a couple at-grades?  Especially since ON 400 will be there eventually?

Quote
"Endure" it? What is there to "endure" for that section? There's no cross traffic as it's a RIRO expressway, so that immediately makes it safer than a US-style divided highway. Northbound there is one sideroad - with speed change lanes - and only 5 property accesses. Southbound there's two sideroads (again, with speed change lanes so they wouldn't disqualify it as a freeway), and four properties with access. Not mention the fact that de facto speed change lanes do exist for those entrances as drivers make use of the shoulders for that.

Just because it's not a full freeway doesn't mean it has to be "endured". There are countless sections of proper freeway with far worse design features that will slow down traffic or be far more succeptable to collisions than that section of Hwy 35/115.
IMO freeways are the most fun type of road to drive (barring congestion, but congestion will make any road not fun to drive).  Plus it just feels weird to not have freeway connectivity between places, or to have to take a non-freeway to get between major areas (or to just get off the freeway for extended periods, period).  Maybe that's my Aspergers Syndrome and OCD talking.

Anyways, just drive NJ 17 sometime to see how congested a "RIRO expressway" can get.

Quote
Of a RIRO expressway in Simcoe County and a US-style divided highway in Parry Sound-Muskoka Districts? Yup. It's not a freeway, nor is it supposed to be. Will it be eventually? Yes, that's the ultimate plan. But like those countless other roads like US-15 in PA or US-169 southwest of Minneapolis, right now it serves a function greater than a two lane highway but less than a freeway.
That's news to me.  I can't imagine how ON 11 would get upgraded though.  Too many businesses on the side to build a 400 series highway without bypassing it.


Quote
Forgivable? It's a two lane arterial highway between a two lane bridge and the border. It takes relatively low volumes. There's no benefit to upgrading it. If anything, the two lane portion of I-81 (with entrances!) at the southern TIB are far more problematic than that bit of Hwy 137 on the island there.
Forgivable because upgrading ON 137 would probably damage the scenic value of Hill Island.

I wouldn't say the parking lot for the toll plaza, the maintenance shed, and ramps to/from the welcome center to be "entrances".  Nothing that's unusual for a road with toll booths.  Heck, the Thruway has tandem trailer lots.  And as I mentioned, super-2s are a thing here.  Also forgivable because it's my favorite bridge and I don't want the experience of driving over it to be altered.

Quote
The problem there isn't freeway-freeway connectivity. The problem is trucks through downtown Ottawa. Considering the conceptual tunnel plan (estimated at $2 billion) didn't even include a freeway connection, that really speaks to what the real problem is.
And the lack of even a planned freeway-freeway connection is a travesty.  If you're going to do something, do it right.  Why should someone living in a metro area big enough to have freeways not be able to get across the area without having to get off the freeway?
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cbeach40

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #913 on: August 15, 2017, 02:33:05 PM »

FYI, I favor the removal of the border stations ASAP.  A lack of freeway-standard facilities would become an issue if our politicians came to their senses and gave us a North American Schengen Area.  One should not have to justify themselves to an authoritarian government official with God-like authority within their little complex to cross a line on a map.

In terms of social constructs like that, I agree wholeheartedly. However, I really don't see an open border gaining political traction anytime soon. Certainly less now than I would have in years past.

Super-2s are a thing here.

I'm not a fan of Super-2 highways, as they have almost all of the expense of a full freeway without the two of the three greatest advantages of them - increasing capacity and almost complete elimination of head-on collisions.

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And how is that a problem? How is it a problem on a road with a 60 km/h limit and interrupted flow in the vicinity?
See beginning of post.  If my vision came to pass, the US would be (mostly) ready (ironically), while Canada would be scrambling to make upgrades.

I-91 & A-55 would be a problem, there's no real alternative to the east side so you'd probably need to grade separate it. I-5 & BC-99, I-87 & A-15 would require just cul-de-sacing the side road, which would be an incredibly minor tag-on item on the work to clear the border-related infrastructure from the mainline highway (particularly the all of the stuff to do with the Peace Arch park). No point in doing anything at the TIB to ON-137 with the bridges as a constraint and no traffic impetus. Even less impetus at I-29 & MB-75 (AADT of only 870 at the border?!) and I-15 & AB-4. The crossings at I-95 & NB-95, I-190 & QEW, I-190 & ON-405, I-69/94 & ON-402, and based on the plans likely I-75 & ON-401 would require extensive work on both sides (and outright twin/replace the Peace Bridge) in order to bring the geometry on the approaches and bridges up to freeway standards.


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Drop street view on the road, and it looks just like an interstate otherwise; all the roads that the vast majority of traffic would be interested in getting off at are interchanges, and it has exit numbers.  Enough said.

Those elements do not change the function of the road. Yes, it is divided and high speed, but as long as there are at grade intersections (for which the ultimate plan is apparently to eliminate them), then the function of the road is not a freeway. At this point, empirically speaking, in those sections where the at grade intersections are it is functionally an expressway or arterial.

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And you're right, AB-2 is not an appropriate comparison to US-23 in Ohio - the latter is much busier.
THAT boggles the mind.  Calgary has over a million people.  Edmonton has 900k.  That's more than most US cities.  They're only 200 miles apart.  That's not much less dense that upstate NY.  Where are all the people driving between them?
[/quote]

To put it in perspective, the population of the Calgary metro is about 1.2 million, 1.3 M in metro Edmonton, and about 0.167 million between. Fairly comparable in size and distance as the Albany and Rochester metro areas. Except there's twice as many people in the Utica metro and another 750 thousand in the Syracuse metro in between. And in Alberta there's next to no traffic coming from points beyond the two major cities.

Yeah, outside of those two cities, that part of the world is pretty empty of people.

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That boggles the mind too.  Winnipeg has over 700k people, and that beltway is a typical distance away from downtown.  How is it not horribly congested?

As I said, there's short sections with some decent traffic numbers where people can and do use it to commutes, but a lot of the more outlying area is pretty dead. Inter-city traffic in Western Canada is pretty minimal.

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Most of our population is concentrated in the coasts, a distribution that was even more extreme when the interstate system was conceived.  And yet, we have them all over.

That doesn't mean you need to have them, particularly from a traffic engineering standpoint. It was a political priority that in some ways was a great investment, and in other ways was a grossly overspending on things you don't objectively need.

And bear in mind, they're the Interstate and Defense Highways - building a network of freeways had a lot to do with strategic issues rather than simply economic/development issues, which is what Canada stuck to.

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I can't imagine I-15 has much more traffic.

Logically it wouldn't. Which means its tremendously overbuilt for the traffic it serves and maintaining a full freeway is sucking up far more resources than what is really needed there.

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And I suppose the question is, why was one part made a full freeway and the other part a super-2 with a couple at-grades?  Especially since ON 400 will be there eventually?

A number of political/economic factors in how we built highways back in the 70s, but from a traffic standpoint the four lane portion would likely require a few passing lanes, so rather than those spot improvements it made more sense to go all out. The balance was done as a cost-saving measure with the provision to upgrade its function from arterial to freeway. The Hwy 69 freeway was originally planned to be further east from where it is (and will be upgraded in place), and in the end it'll be roughly 50-60 years from the original planning and construction until that freeway connection and upgrade are done.

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IMO freeways are the most fun type of road to drive (barring congestion, but congestion will make any road not fun to drive).  Plus it just feels weird to not have freeway connectivity between places, or to have to take a non-freeway to get between major areas (or to just get off the freeway for extended periods, period).  Maybe that's my Aspergers Syndrome and OCD talking.

Highways 11 and 35/115 are two routes that have uninterrupted flow, no signals, no cross traffic, and and operate at... well, speeds not dissimilar to 400-series routes. Plus taking a look at the collision rates, they actually operate safer than typical Ontario freeway sections do.
Like, in terms of actual driving experience you're not missing out on freeway-type connectivity.

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Anyways, just drive NJ 17 sometime to see how congested a "RIRO expressway" can get.

It's been a while, but I believe I have driven that. That's far more heavily built up and has signals, not really comparable to routes like Hwys 11 or 35/115.

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That's news to me.  I can't imagine how ON 11 would get upgraded though.  Too many businesses on the side to build a 400 series highway without bypassing it.

There's not that many. The portion in Muskoka south of Gravenhurst will primarily be widened on alignment. The portions north and south of Orillia in Simcoe County there isn't really anything decided yet, but development is not heavy enough anywhere on there to preclude any upgrades. However, a bypass may be preferable if retaining the businesses on/near the highway is prudent.

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Forgivable because upgrading ON 137 would probably damage the scenic value of Hill Island.

I wouldn't say the parking lot for the toll plaza, the maintenance shed, and ramps to/from the welcome center to be "entrances".  Nothing that's unusual for a road with toll booths.  Heck, the Thruway has tandem trailer lots.  And as I mentioned, super-2s are a thing here.  Also forgivable because it's my favorite bridge and I don't want the experience of driving over it to be altered.

Well, to go with a strict definition, anywhere with entrances without speed change lanes like that would not be a freeway. Heck, you can even have RIRO entrances on a "freeway" like I-80/90 in Ohio (for which blowing by them at speed has about as much impact as by any other entrance on Hwy 11).

But mostly forgivable as there's no practical engineering reason to upgrade Hwy 137.

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And the lack of even a planned freeway-freeway connection is a travesty.  If you're going to do something, do it right.  Why should someone living in a metro area big enough to have freeways not be able to get across the area without having to get off the freeway?

Because there's operationally not much of an issue with that volume of traffic getting off the freeway and going through one roundabout to access the tunnel. A roundabout that will also provide access for other routes into the tunnel. Makes much more sense than spending a half billion dollars and demolishing a massive section of central Ottawa to build a freeway-freeway interchange.


While I certainly can appreciate a preference for freeways, my point is that there's preference, and then there's engineering practicality.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #914 on: August 15, 2017, 08:07:23 PM »

I-91 & A-55 would be a problem, there's no real alternative to the east side so you'd probably need to grade separate it. I-5 & BC-99, I-87 & A-15 would require just cul-de-sacing the side road, which would be an incredibly minor tag-on item on the work to clear the border-related infrastructure from the mainline highway (particularly the all of the stuff to do with the Peace Arch park). No point in doing anything at the TIB to ON-137 with the bridges as a constraint and no traffic impetus. Even less impetus at I-29 & MB-75 (AADT of only 870 at the border?!) and I-15 & AB-4. The crossings at I-95 & NB-95, I-190 & QEW, I-190 & ON-405, I-69/94 & ON-402, and based on the plans likely I-75 & ON-401 would require extensive work on both sides (and outright twin/replace the Peace Bridge) in order to bring the geometry on the approaches and bridges up to freeway standards.

BC 99 would have the issue that the neighborhood has no other outlet, so something would have to be done about that.  Not sure what the issues with many of the latter ones are; I would think I-190/ON 405 would mainly need a barrier (and restoration of the interchange that was removed), and I thought I-94/ON 402 and the planned I-75/ON 401 were already freeway-freeway?

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As I said, there's short sections with some decent traffic numbers where people can and do use it to commutes, but a lot of the more outlying area is pretty dead. Inter-city traffic in Western Canada is pretty minimal.
Even so, pretty amazing.  In the US, you'd have a ton of suburban commuter traffic clogging the road, all of which appears to be absent in Winnipeg.  In upstate NY at least, the cities themselves are actually a mere fraction of the metro area population.

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Highways 11 and 35/115 are two routes that have uninterrupted flow, no signals, no cross traffic, and and operate at... well, speeds not dissimilar to 400-series routes. Plus taking a look at the collision rates, they actually operate safer than typical Ontario freeway sections do.
Like, in terms of actual driving experience you're not missing out on freeway-type connectivity.

I guess it's the difference between looking at the system as a whole and finding gaps versus looking at an individual corridor.  As you can probably guess, I do the former more often.

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There's not that many. The portion in Muskoka south of Gravenhurst will primarily be widened on alignment. The portions north and south of Orillia in Simcoe County there isn't really anything decided yet, but development is not heavy enough anywhere on there to preclude any upgrades. However, a bypass may be preferable if retaining the businesses on/near the highway is prudent.

And the businesses don't sue to stop the construction?  On my side of the border, any such proposal would, at the very minimum, be held up in court by NIMBYs for years if not decades.  Pennsylvania can't even build an interchange between I-70 and the Turnpike because it was blocked by local businesses that would have merely been bypassed.

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Because there's operationally not much of an issue with that volume of traffic getting off the freeway and going through one roundabout to access the tunnel. A roundabout that will also provide access for other routes into the tunnel. Makes much more sense than spending a half billion dollars and demolishing a massive section of central Ottawa to build a freeway-freeway interchange.

Personally, I would have used the trumpet at exit 118 and then tunneled under, with diamond interchanges (much smaller footprint than a parclo) on either end of the tunnel.
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cbeach40

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #915 on: August 16, 2017, 12:20:33 PM »

BC 99 would have the issue that the neighborhood has no other outlet, so something would have to be done about that.  Not sure what the issues with many of the latter ones are; I would think I-190/ON 405 would mainly need a barrier (and restoration of the interchange that was removed), and I thought I-94/ON 402 and the planned I-75/ON 401 were already freeway-freeway?

Yeah, I see now that's a pedestrian bridge at the northwest end there. Shouldn't be too difficult to build a vehicular one there though.

The main issue at the others are the design standards. At the Lew-Queen and BWB, there are some horizontal curves that would definitely need straightening out if the situation were revised to free flow condition (eg, eastbound on I-69/94 the approach curve is posted with an advisory 25 mph!). Based on the plans for the Gordie Howe Bridge plazas I'd expect the situation to be even worse there, those are some pretty tight looking turns. Vertically, obviously not an issue at LQ and GH is obviously yet to be determined, but the vertical grade on the Canadian side of the BWB might meet a 70 km/h design speed, maybe 80 if you're lucky. Presumably similar on the US side. Sticking an extended 50-70 km/h speed limit on a freeway is less than desirable for sure.

Not to say any of it is insurmountable, but converting the border to a free flow condition would take some work.

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And the businesses don't sue to stop the construction?  On my side of the border, any such proposal would, at the very minimum, be held up in court by NIMBYs for years if not decades.  Pennsylvania can't even build an interchange between I-70 and the Turnpike because it was blocked by local businesses that would have merely been bypassed.

From what I gather about Breezewood, it's more of a political issue than a legal one there. And while that can really happen anywhere, it just hasn't really for the Muskoka portion of Highway 11. Simcoe is still on the back burner so that remains to be seen.

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Personally, I would have used the trumpet at exit 118 and then tunneled under, with diamond interchanges (much smaller footprint than a parclo) on either end of the tunnel.

Sorry, meant to address that in my last post but missed it.
Yeah, for years I figured Nicholas Street would be the way it would go, it looked so logical. Last year's feasibility study disagreed though, ranking the two alternatives that utilized those ramps last. Issues stemming from lack of space for staging, interference with existing infrastructure, impact to structures, and (as usual for the Ottawa area) soil stability.

The feasibility study's recommended plan would have the tunnel run from the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge and connect to a new roundabout at the intersection of Vanier Parkway and Coventry Road, providing easy access to the Queensway.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #916 on: August 16, 2017, 01:59:58 PM »

I still think that dealing with 1-2 lights and a roundabout while moving between parts of the freeway network is like trying to download a file with one of the steps in between your ISP and the website's ISP being someone copying the file to a USB drive and walking it to another computer.  Even if The Flash is doing the transfer, it still involves a USB stick instead of fiber.  Certainly much better than the present situation, though.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #917 on: August 16, 2017, 03:21:08 PM »

Quote
As I said, there's short sections with some decent traffic numbers where people can and do use it to commutes, but a lot of the more outlying area is pretty dead. Inter-city traffic in Western Canada is pretty minimal.
Even so, pretty amazing.  In the US, you'd have a ton of suburban commuter traffic clogging the road, all of which appears to be absent in Winnipeg.  In upstate NY at least, the cities themselves are actually a mere fraction of the metro area population.

In case of Winnipeg, there is very little suburban development outside of the Perimeter Highway. There is even quite some undeveloped land within the Perimeter Highway. I suppose that most traffic within Winnipeg doesn't use the Perimeter Highway either, as it is quite a detour to use it between neighborhoods, which explains the relatively low volume of traffic for such a large city.

Also, being by far the largest city within a very large region, much truck traffic likely originates within the city, so they don't use the Perimeter Highway to bypass the city either. The amount of east-west through traffic seems to be pretty small, the AADT on Highway 17 in Northern Ontario is only around 4,000. North-south through traffic is likely even less as there are no major industrial destinations north of Winnipeg.

A traffic flow map of Winnipeg. As you can see only parts of Highway 100 are over 20,000 AADT, maxing out at 24k - 26k on several sections. That's very low for a city with a population over 700,000.

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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #918 on: August 17, 2017, 12:04:33 AM »

This has been an interesting discussion of the differences between the US and Canada in programming freeway construction.  The case has been made that in Ontario at least, provision of freeways is more generous than in many US states (though cases do exist of US states building freeways for sub-10,000 AADT--my own home state has several), and I would now like to ask whether the severe winters play a role in this.  In Alaska, which also has rigorous winters, there has been at least one case of a rural highway improvement being planned to an unusual design hour volume (100th highest hour instead of the customary 30th highest hour) in order to avoid an expansion of cross-section judged unaffordable.  The underlying issue is anisotropy of traffic distribution through the year (especially summer congestion).

I would also observe that on the north side of the border we see less diversity in planning and programming practices.  Ontario and Québec combined have 61% of Canada's population (21.5 million out of 35.1 million).  In the US it takes the top 13 states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington) to reach the same percentage of the US population.  This spans a very broad range of planning and programming approaches, with few real commonalities other than metropolitan congestion (which has a constipating effect on statewide planning) and little coverage of the thinly populated middle of the country where freeways have been built with sub-10,000 AADT.  Some of these states have had static population over the past fifty years; others have experienced rampant population growth and are playing catch-up with little funding, notably North Carolina with its US 70 expressway (a legacy of a 1980's/1990's point-to-point four-laning program) that is now acknowledged to have been underbuilt and should have been freeway from the start.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #919 on: August 17, 2017, 11:38:47 AM »

Yes, it's part of the plaza, where it sends trucks for inspection on one side of the highway to the other. If you're going to go with completely freeway design standards (which again, in the low speed interrupted flow conditions in the vicinity of border inspections makes ZERO sense), then having low speed truck cross traffic is the second worst case scenario. If you accept it as not a freeway as the volumes and driver expectancy will allow for it, then it's not a problem.
FYI, I favor the removal of the border stations ASAP.  A lack of freeway-standard facilities would become an issue if our politicians came to their senses and gave us a North American Schengen Area.  One should not have to justify themselves to an authoritarian government official with God-like authority within their little complex to cross a line on a map.

The problem you are going to face here oddly enough is not from the American side (well with radically different leaders of both nations, there is going to be a lot more outcry on the US side about such a proposal today rather than say 5 years ago) but from the Canadian side.

Canadian nationalism is something that unites Canadians on all political stripes in this country (I personally see Canadian nationalism as being quite silly myself but I'm a small minority), and one of the cornerstones of Canadian nationalism is of course the fierce opposition to the second amendment. (Of course, football with a 55 yard line is another cornerstone) There are many that will show you Toronto's extremely low murder rate and point the success on that merely with gun control. I don't want to delve too into politics and derail the thread, but it would be Canadians you'd have to convince for this to work.


Quote from: cbeach40
I would not compare AB 2 to Detroit/Columbus.  AB 2, at least between Calgary and Edmonton, is Alberta's 401, and functionally a freeway with a ton of at-grades (it's even marked as a freeway on maps).

NL-500 between Labrador City and Goose Bay is "Labrador's 401"* - should it be a freeway? Or is it built to the standard appropriate for its traffic?


New Brunswick would like to have a word with you, shall we mention that the city of Mississauga, Ontario has a very similar population to that whole province, (more on New Brunswick later by the way). Yet it has a freeway that is a full freeway other than for two at grade rail crossings in the Dieppe/Moncton area.

Quote from: cbeach40
Quote
Most of our population is concentrated in the coasts, a distribution that was even more extreme when the interstate system was conceived.  And yet, we have them all over.

That doesn't mean you need to have them, particularly from a traffic engineering standpoint. It was a political priority that in some ways was a great investment, and in other ways was a grossly overspending on things you don't objectively need.

And bear in mind, they're the Interstate and Defense Highways - building a network of freeways had a lot to do with strategic issues rather than simply economic/development issues, which is what Canada stuck to.


What exactly are we going to discuss when we talk about warrants. Shall we talk about that pesky Hwy 404 extension, which you laughed at me about before, or shall I point you to look at the Hwy 7/Hwy 50 intersection and show to you why a Hwy 427 extension was a hell of a lot more important.

Warrants end up being very political, in the case of the Interstate system however, they got it spot on.

As for New Brunswick, back at the roadmeet in June 2016, I jokingly said looking over an opened Hwy 407 extension that this reminds me of New Brunswick Route 2. Why is it that there is magically money available to build a 500km freeway across New Brunswick, but nothing can be done here in Ontario. Obviously NB-2 is not warranted at all, especially between Grand Falls and Fredericton, but yet it exists. The New Brunswick triangle, that is Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint John has a freeway on two sides of the triangle, a population of less than 750,000 has all of this and yet I see no one complaining about how that was a waste of money.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #920 on: August 17, 2017, 12:39:28 PM »

This has been an interesting discussion of the differences between the US and Canada in programming freeway construction.  The case has been made that in Ontario at least, provision of freeways is more generous than in many US states (though cases do exist of US states building freeways for sub-10,000 AADT--my own home state has several), and I would now like to ask whether the severe winters play a role in this.  In Alaska, which also has rigorous winters, there has been at least one case of a rural highway improvement being planned to an unusual design hour volume (100th highest hour instead of the customary 30th highest hour) in order to avoid an expansion of cross-section judged unaffordable.  The underlying issue is anisotropy of traffic distribution through the year (especially summer congestion).

I would also observe that on the north side of the border we see less diversity in planning and programming practices.  Ontario and Québec combined have 61% of Canada's population (21.5 million out of 35.1 million).  In the US it takes the top 13 states (California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington) to reach the same percentage of the US population.  This spans a very broad range of planning and programming approaches, with few real commonalities other than metropolitan congestion (which has a constipating effect on statewide planning) and little coverage of the thinly populated middle of the country where freeways have been built with sub-10,000 AADT.  Some of these states have had static population over the past fifty years; others have experienced rampant population growth and are playing catch-up with little funding, notably North Carolina with its US 70 expressway (a legacy of a 1980's/1990's point-to-point four-laning program) that is now acknowledged to have been underbuilt and should have been freeway from the start.

^This is ironically the most on-point intervention in this thread that could have been qualified by what we call in French a "dialogue of the deaf".  :bigass:
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #921 on: August 17, 2017, 02:39:09 PM »

What exactly are we going to discuss when we talk about warrants. Shall we talk about that pesky Hwy 404 extension, which you laughed at me about before, or shall I point you to look at the Hwy 7/Hwy 50 intersection and show to you why a Hwy 427 extension was a hell of a lot more important.

Warrants end up being very political, in the case of the Interstate system however, they got it spot on.

I'm not sure I understand your argument here.  The 2014 opened Hwy 404 extension was built to serve a riding that has, since its inception in 2006, voted only for a progressive conservative candidate.  The highway was built by a liberal government.

Compare this to the 427 which will be constructed in what is decidedly a liberal stronghold, and furthermore runs within the current Minister of Transportation's riding.  There are few politician's in Ontario with as much influence as the Minister of Transportation.  The idea that the 404 extension preceded the 427 extension based solely for political reasons is simply untrue.

There are a lot of factors at play in constructing a new highway.  Just as an example, the 427 extension has to cross an energy pipeline along it's alignment.  Energy pipelines are regulated federally in Canada, and crossing agreements can take a significant amount of legally wrangling to achieve.

Politics aren't irrelevant in highway building, but there are a lot of factors influencing whether a highway expansion project is shovel ready or not.  In this case, politics seem kind of irrelevant seeing as the 404 extension was built by the majority party to service an opposition riding.

That said, the fact that province has prioritized widening from Thunder Bay to Nipigon in a liberal stronghold vs. focusing on widening from Pembroke to Arnprior in a Conservative stronghold probably does have some political motives to it.

As for New Brunswick, back at the roadmeet in June 2016, I jokingly said looking over an opened Hwy 407 extension that this reminds me of New Brunswick Route 2. Why is it that there is magically money available to build a 500km freeway across New Brunswick, but nothing can be done here in Ontario. Obviously NB-2 is not warranted at all, especially between Grand Falls and Fredericton, but yet it exists. The New Brunswick triangle, that is Moncton, Fredericton, and Saint John has a freeway on two sides of the triangle, a population of less than 750,000 has all of this and yet I see no one complaining about how that was a waste of money.

New Brunswick got a sweet-heart 50-50 funding arrangement with the federal government to twin its portion of the Trans-Canada Highway.  If Ontario was bestowed with that kind of investment, I'm sure the province could find a way to spend it as well.

Ontario is also somewhat unique in a Canadian perspective in that the Trans-Canada Highway does not actually follow the province's principal east-west travel axis.  That is not true for any other province in Canada.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #922 on: August 17, 2017, 02:54:01 PM »

Then enlighten me, why was Hwy 404 extension built before Hwy 427? It's not rocket science that Hwy 427 was a more urgent matter.
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #923 on: August 17, 2017, 03:18:54 PM »

^ I don't know why.  Could be for a variety of reasons as I outlined above
 - Municipal planning and land use studies
 - environmental reasons
 - public and private stakeholder interests
 - utility conflicts,
 - tribunal decisions...

There are so many factors that go into a highway before shovels hit the ground, I don't know enough about either project to say to say decisively which effect it was.  And frankly, neither do you -- blaming politics is just an easy answer... 

The least plausible explanation of why the 404 was extended is that it was extended by a liberal government to serve a conservative riding to play political favour.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 03:23:01 PM by AsphaltPlanet »
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Re: Ontario's Highways
« Reply #924 on: August 17, 2017, 04:00:29 PM »

^ I don't know why.  Could be for a variety of reasons as I outlined above
 - Municipal planning and land use studies
 - environmental reasons
 - public and private stakeholder interests
 - utility conflicts,
 - tribunal decisions...

There are so many factors that go into a highway before shovels hit the ground, I don't know enough about either project to say to say decisively which effect it was.  And frankly, neither do you -- blaming politics is just an easy answer... 

The least plausible explanation of why the 404 was extended is that it was extended by a liberal government to serve a conservative riding to play political favour.

Ok, neither do I, sure blaming politics isn't the right thing, but the fact remains, and you know as well as I do, York Region got tired of the MTO and the province playing games regarding this nonsense that they built a temporary extension to Zenway to alleviate the intersections of Hwy 50/Hwy 7 and Hwy 27/Hwy 7.

I was blaming politics because my mind was on the wasteful Spadina Subway extension at the time of the post, you know as well as I do on the contrary that project was 100% political but this is a roads thread, so I'll leave it at that.
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