Considering the traffic delays created, there never seems to be a good time for road construction. Its an arduous process but keeps the city healthy and functional. And though a reprieve from construction might be nice (winter doesn’t count), two major projects are about to begin in the region.
The long awaited highway 7 corridor was first proposed in 1989. The recommended plan was approved in 2007. This past spring the expropriation process was finalized with a number of landowners either relocating or being bought out by the province.
The estimated completion date for the project is approximately 5 construction cycles. Some preliminary construction has begun on the Guelph Street Bridge which is being expanded to four lanes and will include a flyaway on/off ramp for the expressway in Kitchener.
A functional transportation corridor will help improve many of the surrounding areas. Victoria Street was not designed to accommodate the current amount of traffic from the highways 7/8 especially during rush hour. The stress of traffic congestion can be a deterrent to quality retail and amenity development. In addition traveling between Kitchener and Guelph on a limited access highway will be considerably safer.
The River Road Extension
The second major project expected to begin construction shortly is the River Road extension. The extension will provide much needed additional access to Highway 8 while relieving a congested Fairway road.
Many readers might remember the environmental controversy that surrounded this project. Initial plans called for the extension to run through the wetlands habitat of an endangered Salamander species. Eventually after extensive studies, plans were altered and the extension was slated to skirt around the wetlands. In the long run, parklands and natural spaces within the city enhance values of the properties which surround them. Although the original plan was a costly development error, ultimately the remediation was the correct choice.