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Ontario government investing $401 million to upgrade Highway 401


    Investment Will Improve Traffic Flow Through Toronto

    TORONTO, Aug. 6 /CNW/ - The Ernie Eves government is investing $401
million to upgrade Highway 401 through Toronto, Transportation Minister Norm
Sterling announced today.
    "Highway 401 is one of the busiest highways in the world and serves as a
vital route for commuters, industry and tourists," Sterling said. "The Ernie
Eves government is addressing congestion in the GTA through strategic
investments in both highways and transit."
    The estimated $401 million program to rebuild Highway 401 through Toronto
consists of 20 projects to improve road safety and relieve congestion along
the 26 km stretch from Renforth Drive to Warden Avenue.
    The project announced today is a $25 million investment to widen and
resurface Highway 401 in the west end of Toronto. The contract features the
addition of a single lane in each direction to help relieve the bottleneck on
Highway 401, in both directions, from Renforth Drive to Highway 427. When
complete, this project will increase traffic capacity by one-third through the
bottleneck at Highway 427.
    Initiated in 1998, the Highway 401 program is planned to continue to
2010, when some 20 new lane kilometres will have been added to relieve
bottlenecks through Toronto. By 2010, the entire span of Highway 401 from
Renforth Drive to Warden Avenue will have new pavement, high mast lighting,
concrete median barriers and enhanced overhead signage.
    To minimize disruption to motorists, temporary lanes will be created to
maintain the overall number of lanes in each direction. As well, most of the
construction will take place at night and during off-peak hours.
    "This multi-million dollar investment in our infrastructure will
strengthen our growing economy and support Ontario's Smart Growth vision,"
Sterling said. "In addition to investing record levels in highway
improvements, we have announced new province-wide funding of $3.25 billion
over 10 years for transit expansion and renewal."
    This investment is part of the government's five-year, $20-billion
SuperBuild initiative designed to facilitate the largest infrastructure-
building program in Ontario's history. Since 1995, the Ontario government has
invested more than $6.5 billion in highway capital projects.
    For the most up-to-date highway construction information in the Greater
Toronto Area, the public can call (416) 599-9090 or toll-free at 1-888-599-
9090. For more in-depth information on construction projects, the public can
also log onto MTO's Web site at: www.mto.gov.on.ca


    To view map, please visit: http://files.newswire.ca/6/mtomap.pdf


    Backgrounder
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                   REBUILDING HIGHWAY 401 FOR $401 MILLION


    Highway 401 is one of the busiest highways in the world and represents a
vital link in Ontario's transportation infrastructure, carrying more than
400,000 vehicles per day through Toronto.
    The province has committed to a multi-year, estimated $401 million
program to rebuild Highway 401 in Toronto. The program includes 20 separate
projects, co-ordinating all highway rehabilitation work and bottleneck
removal, in order to minimize disruption to motorists while maximizing the
efficient use of funds.
    To minimize disruption for motorists, the Ministry of Transportation
(MTO) is using a number of innovative measures including:

    - Extensive night work and restricting lane closures to off-peak hours;
    - Penalties and bonuses for contractors to encourage timely re-opening
      of lanes in the morning following construction and early completion
      of each season's construction;
    - Maintaining the overall number of lanes in each direction by adding
      a temporary driving lane, as required;
    - Using Movable Barrier Wall systems to quickly re-open lanes for traffic
      upon completion of work;
    - Using special changeable message signs for construction information;
      and,
    - Ensuring 24 hour/seven day per week COMPASS camera coverage for
      incident response.

    Since 1998, the ministry has committed $234 million to rebuild Highway
401.
    The estimated $401 million construction program for Highway 401 is
planned to continue to 2010, when 20 new lane kilometres will have been added
to relieve bottlenecks through Toronto. Currently, 5.9 kilometres of
additional lanes have been completed with 8.3 kilometres under construction.
 A further 5.8 kilometres will be added in projects yet to be announced.
    By 2010, the entire span of Highway 401 from Renforth Drive to Warden
Avenue will have been reconstructed, resulting in 300 lane kilometres of new
pavement, 77 repaired bridges and the installation of new high mast lighting
and concrete median barriers.

    Current Projects:

        All projects listed below are currently under construction
        and include new pavement and structure rehabilitation, concrete
        median barrier installation and new high mast lighting:

        Eastbound and Westbound from Kipling Avenue to Highway 427
        (nearing completion)
        This contract also includes:
          - Noise Barrier between Dixon Road and Kipling Avenue.
          - 2.0 km of additional lane in each direction to relieve
            bottlenecks have been completed.

       Eastbound Express lanes from Highway 404 to Warden Avenue
       (Contract to be completed July, 2002)
       The contract also includes:
          - 1.9 km of additional lane between the Don Valley Parkway
            and Warden Avenue.

        Westbound Collectors from Bathurst Street to Dufferin Street
        and Westbound Express from Dufferin Street to Jane Street
        (Contract to be completed this fall)
        The contract also includes:
          - A new collector-to-express transfer in the area of Allen Road.
          - 3.1 km of additional lane from the new transfer westerly to
            Jane Street to relieve bottlenecks.

        Eastbound Express from Kipling Avenue to Jane Street
        (Contract to be completed by 2004)
        This contract also includes:
          - 2.2 km of additional lane from Islington Avenue to Highway 400
            to relieve bottlenecks.

        Eastbound and Westbound from Renforth Drive to Highway 427
        (Contract to be completed by 2005)
        This contract also includes:
          - 1.5 km of additional lane in each direction to relieve
            bottlenecks.

    Recently Completed Construction Projects:

        Hogg's Hollow Bridge Connection: This work is required to provide
        extra driving surface for future phases of construction to maintain
        overall number of lanes, minimizing impact to traveling public.

        All of the recently completed projects include pavement and structure
        rehabilitation, median barrier installation and high mast lighting:
          - Eastbound Express, from Jane Street to Avenue Road
          - Eastbound Express, from Yonge Street to Highway 404
          - Westbound Express, from Yonge Street to Dufferin Street
          - Westbound Express, from Yonge Street to Victoria Park Avenue

        Future Projects:

        All future projects, listed below, include new pavement and structure
        rehabilitation, as well as concrete median barrier installation:

          - Eastbound Collector, from Avenue Road to the Don Valley Parkway
          - Westbound Express, from Jane Street to Kipling Avenue
          - Eastbound Collector, from Kipling Avenue to Jane Street
          - Westbound Collector, from Warden Avenue to Leslie Street
          - Eastbound and Westbound Express at Hogg's Hollow
          - Westbound Collector, from Allen Road to Jane Street
          - Westbound Collector, from Jane Street to Kipling Avenue
            (including 3.8 km of additional lane)
          - Eastbound Collector, from Jane Street to Avenue Road
            (including 2 km of additional lane)
          - Eastbound Collector, from the Don Valley Parkway to Warden Avenue
          - Westbound Collector, from Leslie Street to Bathurst Street


    Disponible en français

                For more information visit www.mto.gov.on.ca

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For further information: Media Contact: Bob Nichols, Communications 
Branch, Tel.: (416) 327-1158 Fax: (416) 327-2200

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