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Province announces new Hwy. 6 bypass and Hwy. 401 widening

Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced Tuesday plans to build a bypass around the village of Morriston to alleviate traffic congestion between Guelph and Freelton.

Construction ‘could start as early as 2020,’ province says

Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca has announced plans to build a bypass around Morriston. The province says more than 25,000 vehicles travel through Morriston on Highway 6 every day. (Google StreetView)

The provincial government is planning a new five-kilometre bypass around the community of Morriston, south of Guelph, to improve traffic flow between Guelph and Freelton.

In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca said the project will see Highway 401 widened from six lanes to 10 and it will include high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. As well, three new interchanges will be created and the existing Highway 6 interchange with the 401 will be improved.

The new bypass will help "people and goods move faster and more efficiently," Del Duca said in a release.

Guelph MPP Liz Sandals called the announcement "great news."

This will also provide an improved link for local businesses to ensure their goods can flow seamlessly and efficiently to markets.- Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin

"The rural two-lane section of highway is one of the busiest two-lane provincial highways in Ontario. Residents and businesses in the region will benefit from the bypass," she said.

Currently, more than 25,000 vehicles, including 2,800 commercial vehicles, travel through Morriston every day, the release said. Morriston is located approximately 70 km west of Toronto.

Highway 6 links Kitchener, Waterloo and Guelph with Hamilton and Burlington.

Construction could begin in 2020

An exact dollar figure for how much the project will cost was not available - the province said that will be made public when the construction contract is awarded. The province's release noted the project is part of the $160 billion the government will spend over 12 years to improve roads, transit, schools and hospitals.

Rory McAlpine, senior vice president of government and industry relations for Maple Leaf Foods, said in a statement after the announcement the bypass "could be valued at more than $30 million."

"It's a huge draw for investment, U.S.-bound export shipments and good jobs in the region," McAlpine said. Maple Leaf Foods is a member of the Morriston Bypass Business and Economic Development Coalition.

Construction on the bypass could begin as early as 2020.

Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MPP Ted McMeekin said the bypass will help manage traffic flow in the area and will give commuters an alternate route.

"This will also provide an improved link for local businesses to ensure their goods can flow seamlessly and efficiently to markets," he said.

Keanin Loomis, president and CEO of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, issued a statement saying the project is a "critical priority to the connectivity of businesses in Hamilton" to the rest of southern Ontario and the United States.

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