New Highway 7 project gets 'clear commitment' from Ontario government
Plan would see new four-lane highway built between Kitchener and Guelph
The provincial government has announced it plans to move forward with a new Highway 7 between Waterloo region and Guelph.
The project, which has been on-again, off-again since the 1960s, was placed under review when the Progressive Conservatives took power following the 2018 provincial election.
On Tuesday, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris announced "a clear commitment" by the province to move ahead with building a new, 18 km, four-lane highway.
Engineering and environmental work will continue this year but Harris says it's hoped procurement for construction could begin in 2021.
Harris declined to give an exact financial figure for the new highway or a timeline, saying it will depend on the tendering process and who wins the contract.
"For decades, our community leaders have maintained that this project was essential for improving commute times and safety and to grow the economy along this important innovative corridor and the connections beyond," Harris said.
'Waiting a long time'
Regional Chair Karen Redman called the announcement "welcome news."
Funding for the project has been eagerly anticipated, she said.
"Everyone in Waterloo region knows how vital the construction of the new Highway 7 is for the innovation corridor and connecting the communities of Waterloo region and Guelph," she said.
But the highway is also an investment in quality of life for commuters "who sit in congestion daily."
Mayor of Centre Wellington Kelly Linton said since 1960, there have been frequent promises by provincial governments to build the highway.
"Moving from talk to action is the hallmark of good government," Linton said. "We know that it's a major undertaking."
Guelph Coun. James Gordon agreed the new highway is a project "many members of our community have been waiting a long time for" and will provide better connectivity between the two communities.