A new ‘bridge’ for the 400?

Information session planned to receive comments on traffic solutions, which may include a link across the 400 from Harvie and Big Bay Point roads

by John Devine

Residents will get a chance to air their views and opinions about planned upgrading of Big Bay Point Road and Highway 400, including a possible bridge over the 400, or an underpass, from Big Bay Point to Harvie Road, with ramps to and from the highway.
A public ‘information centre’ has been scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 17, 4-7 p.m. in the Sir Robert Barrie Room at City Hall, city council was advised Monday night in a memorandum from Wendell McArthur, director of engineering.
The memo identifies three possible options to identified traffic woes in the area: doing nothing, a highway crossing, and a highway interchange.
Council was advised that the ‘do nothing’ option would result in worsening traffic problems over time. The ‘highway crossing’ option envisions three lanes of traffic each direction, with no access to the highway. The ‘highway interchange’ option sees the three lanes of traffic, each way, with access to and from the highway.
The project is in the second phase of the EA process. If it’s determined a highway crossing is the preferred option, the third and fourth phases of the process will consider both an overpass and an underpass, with a subsequent recommendation going to council.
The information session is part of the process of “updating Phase 2 of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) Study for Harvie Road/Big Bay Point Road/Highway 400 as per the 2010 Business Plan,” according to the memo.
A letter detailing the project, and a comment sheet, was mailed Oct. 29 to property owners who might be impacted by the planned work. An ad will also run in a local newspaper on Friday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 13, advising the public of the Nov. 17 session.
The letter advises that the City of Barrie is “undertaking a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) to address transportation issues” in the area, so that “existing traffic and infrastructure deficiencies (can) be corrected in an environmentally friendly manner which also meets future transportation needs.”
According to the memo, the environmental assessment will:
• Assess the existing transportation system in and adjacent to the study area
• Identify deficiencies to the existing transportation system
• Identify the location, extent, and sensitivity of the existing natural, social, heritage and economic environment within the study area
• Establish appropriate measures required to mitigate any adverse impacts to property and the natural environment resulting from proposed transportation improvements
• Provide a conceptual design, cost estimates, and sequencing requirements associated with the proposed alternative solution.
The consulting firm Morrison Hershfield has been hired by the city to determine solutions, recommend a solution and prepare a report on the entire Class EA planning process.
Interested residents can get a look at the Class EA document on Friday, Nov. 5, when it becomes available online; the document, outlining the “planning, approval, problem identification, and preliminary impact assessments of the various alternatives,” can also be viewed at the clerk’s office, the engineering department, and the Barrie Public Library.
At the completion of the public commenting process, a preferred option will be identified in the report, which will come before council for approval, rejection or modification. Deputations from the public can be made when the report is presented to general committee.

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