Commuters in Richmond Hill and Markham were given a big boost last week with the opening of two new roads around the bus Highway 7/Highway 404 interchange.
The area around the interchange is one of the biggest employment zones in the Greater Toronto Area, attracting workers to a wide variety of local, national and international businesses in both the public and private sectors. As a result, the traffic snarls along Highway 7 have long been a problem.
The solution that York Region came up with for one it’s most important economic areas was the $58 million development of two new roads to connect the East Beaver Creek business area in Richmond Hill to the Markham business park next to Allstate Parkway, which is on the opposite side of Highway 404.
To connect the two areas, a massive construction project was required that involved the realignment of the northbound entrance ramp to from Highway 7 to Highway 404, the building of a four-lane bridge across Highway 404 and, of course, the construction of the two new roads: Norman Bethune Avenue and Aristotle Avenue.
Anyone familiar with the area will have seen the large amount of construction taking place over the last two years, since the project got underway back in spring 2016. The first phase was opened several months ago with the smooth new entrance ramp to the northbound lanes of Highway 404. Work continued on the rest of the project and last week, with construction complete, the two new roads opened to traffic.
The final route of the new roads sees Norman Bethune Avenue connect with East Beaver Creek at the junction with East Pearce St, cross Highway 404, then meet Allstate Parkway on the east side of Highway 404, just next to Seneca College Markham Campus. To ensure that the road is suitable for all, there are back paths and sidewalks along the entire length.
Meanwhile, Aristotle Avenue goes from south to north and connects Highway 7 to Norman Bethune Avenue. The junction with Highway 7 is located at the intersection where northbound traffic exits form Highway 7 and is controlled by traffic lights – meaning traffic should be able to easily access that round whether they are exiting form Highway 404 or driving in either direction on Highway 7.
With the two roads now fully operational, it is hoped that traffic on Highway 7 will be reduced thanks to the increased options for drivers. Meanwhile, businesses and commuters are expected to greatly appreciate the ease with which they can now cross between the two major business areas.