MISSISSAUGA – Originally completed in 1964, Highway 401 enjoys the dubious distinction of being one of North America’s busiest highways. After all, it provides a major east-west artery not only for motorists commuting within the GTA, but for those headed as far southwest as Windsor or as far east as Quebec.
But for residents of Mississauga — many of whom use the highway to get to work and back — the ride is about to get a little easier, thanks to the Province of Ontario’s recently-announced plan to widen the highway from six lanes to 12.
Carrying an anticipated completion date of 2019, the $81-million project will add four general-purpose lanes and two High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, similar to the ones GTA residents got a taste of during the 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Games. HOV lanes are open to vehicles carrying 2 or more people, or cars with green licence plates.
“For Ontario to remain a world-class jurisdiction, it requires world-class infrastructure,” explained Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure in a statement dated April 15.
“Widening Highway 401 will reduce commute times and improve the flow of goods, and will also boost productivity and attract new businesses to the region.”
The section of highway currently slated for widening stretches from Hurontario Street to the Credit River, a busy stretch that passes not only the city’s Courtneypark neighbourhood, but also one of its largest business parks, home to major employers like Mattel and PepsiCo Beverages.
Additional Road Improvements Planned
The Highway 401 widening in Mississauga is one of the first projects to be unveiled as part of a major 12-year, $160-billion plan to improve Ontario’s roads, bridges, transit systems, schools, and hospitals — the largest infrastructure investment in the province’s history.
By the end of 2016, $2.1 billion will go towards road and bridge construction across the province – a sector of Ontario’s infrastructure that Premier Kathleen Wynne says is “critical” for “families and businesses [that] rely on highways like the 401 every day.”
Just a short distance northeast of Mississauga, Infrastructure Ontario is also moving ahead with a planned expansion of Highway 427 that will connect with Major Mackenzie Drive in western Vaughan.