Highway 401 between Highway 8 and Hespeler Road in Cambridge will be widened from six to 10 lanes starting this year, with construction scheduled to finish in 2019.

The 4.2-kilometre stretch will cost $112 million to widen, funds which will come from the Ministry of Transportation's annual budget.

Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig believes the widening will help ease congestion on that area of the highway.

"I'm hearing misery [from residents] on a general basis. It has not been a good situation for about five years," said Craig.

"It will improve travel time from the City of Cambridge into the KW area. It will also improve the safety aspects of this particular stretch of very heavy traffic."

Steven Del Duca, the province's minister of transportation, was in Cambridge on Monday to make the announcement. The project was originally announced in 2013.

Del Duca says this section of the highway will be among the widest in the province outside the Greater Toronto Area.

"If you live and work in this area you know that there are significant challenges with respect to making sure we can move both commuters and also commercial goods through this part of the province," said Del Duca. 

"This is really important for quality of life. It's important that we have all forms of transportation that can help support economic growth, so based on the traffic flows and the demands, it was determined that this is an important place that we have widened...so we can help this beautiful part of Ontario moving."

One of the new lanes in each direction will be High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, which means they are reserved for vehicles with two or more passengers.

The construction project has implications for several bridges in the Region. A summary of the construction work includes:

  • Widening and repairing the Grand River Electric Railway Overpass.
  • Widening and repairing the CN rail overpass.
  • Replacing four bridges over the Speed River.
  • Replacing the Highway 8 bridge over Sportsworld Drive and the Highway 401 and Hespeler Road interchange bridge.