BRADFORDTODAY.CA – Work on Bradford bypass to start as early as this fall – Mar 26, 2021 10:00 AM By: Natasha Philpott
Early work on the Bradford bypass project could start as soon as this fall, according to the provincial budget delivered on Wednesday. The budget highlighted the importance of investing in highways, noting it is critical to keep people and goods moving while connecting communities and boosting local economies. The province has allocated more than $21 billion in funding over the next decade, including $2.6 billion in 2021-22, to expand and repair highways and bridges. The Bradford bypass — a 16.2-kilometre, four-lane highway connecting Highways 400 and 404 — was on the list of projects currently planned or underway across the province on Page 105 of the 231-page document.
Early Works approved by Ontario Regulation 697/21.
This “Exemption Regulation” came into effect on October 7 2021. The regulation retroactively amended the Bradford Bypass 2002 EA Approval by, amongst other things, eliminating Conditions 4 and 5 of that Approval. Conditions 4 and 5 required the conduct of a Class EA Study to bring the 2002 EA Approval current. Final EA approval required issuance of a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) followed by a Design Construction Report (DCR). Both reports required a 30 day public review period. The TESR phase also permitted the public to request the Class EA be “Bumped-Up” to a full Environmental Assessment.
The Exemption Regulation sets out three new processes. MTO must now file:
an early works report or EWR
an environmental conditions report or ECR and
an environmental impact assessment report EIAR.
Once these reports have been issued, as long as all other required permits (from other regulatory authorities) are in hand, MTO has met all approval requirements and can commence construction without any further approval from anyone else.
The Exemption Regulation permits specified Early Works. Early Works is the construction of an overpass on County Road 4 (Hwy 11), north of Bradford. This construction can be commenced prior to completion of the ECR and EIAR which are currently forecasted for early 2023. The Regulation requires that MTO issue a Draft Early Works Report with public comment open for 30 days. Thereafter, MTO can issue a Final Early Works Report and commence construction. The Draft Early Works Report was issued on February 13, 2022. FROGS submitted fairly extensive comments on that report.