Highway 400 - Highway 404 Extension Link (Bradford Bypass)
Project information about this environmental assessment.
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To enable the Bradford Bypass project to be built in a timely way that ensures continued protection of the environment without duplicating requirements that slow down the project, we have exempted the Bradford Bypass from requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act subject to conditions, as appropriate.
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has conditionally exempted the design and construction of a new 16.2 km rural 4-lane controlled access freeway from duplicative requirements, which it has already met, of the Environmental Assessment Act. The freeway, commonly referred to as the Bradford Bypass, will connect Highway 400 in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury to the proposed northerly extension of the Highway 404 Extension in the Town of East Gwillimbury.
Ministry of Transportation
County of Simcoe and the Regional Municipality of York
Gavin Battarino, Environmental Assessment Branch
Exemption regulation (2021): filed
Proposal date: July 8, 2020
Expiry of public comment period: August 22, 2020
Decision date: October 7, 2021
Environmental assessment (2002): approved
Decision date: August 28, 2002
Exemption regulation (2021)
As part of environmental assessment modernization efforts, we are conditionally exempting the Bradford Bypass from the duplicative requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act.
Exemption regulations: Bradford Bypass and Ministry of Transportation Provincial Transportation Facilities Class EA projects
The Ministry of Transportation reviewed critical transportation infrastructure and identified priority projects that previously went through an environmental assessment process but were not implemented. These projects include the Bradford Bypass—a project that has completed an individual environmental assessment and received approval to proceed under the Environmental Assessment Act—and several Ministry of Transportation Provincial Transportation Facilities class environmental assessments (Class EA) projects. The potential impacts of the project are already understood through the individual environmental assessment for the project that has been completed. As part of our environmental assessment modernization efforts, we are proposing to conditionally exempt the Bradford Bypass from duplicative requirements under the Environmental Assessment Act.
By reducing duplication in environmental assessment processes, and better recognizing other planning processes, we are bringing important public services and infrastructure to communities faster.
Status of the Bradford Bypass
On August 28, 2002, the former Minister of the Environment and Energy approved the individual environment assessment for a new freeway to connect Highway 400 in Bradford West Gwillimbury to a northerly extension of Highway 404 in East Gwillimbury.
As a condition of this approval (Condition 4 of the Notice of Approval), the design and construction of the highway became subject to the Ministry of Transportation Class EA. Prior to the regulation being made, the Ministry of Transportation was required to prepare a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) for the preliminary design and a Design and Construction Report(s) (DCR) for the detailed design of the Bradford Bypass.
What the exemption regulation does
The regulation exempts the Bradford Bypass from duplicative requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act, subject to conditions that ensure environmental protection. The Ministry of Transportation is no longer required to fulfill Condition 4 of the EA Notice of Approval and complete a TESR or DCR(s) that would typically be required in accordance with the Ministry of Transportation’s Class EA because a rigorous individual EA has been completed. As a result, the Ministry of Transportation is not required to distribute a Notice of Completion for the TESR or DCR(s) which would normally initiate a 30-day public consultation period.
The regulation includes conditions to be fulfilled by the Ministry of Transportation in order to be exempt from the Environmental Assessment Act:
- complete a streamlined planning and assessment process to determine the final alignment and design of the Bradford Bypass
- implement the Bradford Bypass project as approved in the environmental assessment
- fulfill other conditions that capture the general intent of the 2002 EA Notice of Approval
- notify the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, other interested stakeholders and Indigenous communities if there are any changes to the Bradford Bypass project
- prepare Indigenous Consultation Plans, submit them to the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and continue to consult with Indigenous communities
- continue to consult with interested members of the public
To maintain strong protection of our environment, the Ministry of Transportation would continue to document environmental investigations, impact assessments, proposed mitigation strategies, consultation plans and findings, and obtained permits and approvals in technical reports. The Ministry of Transportation would follow all other legislation as well as ministry standards and practices.
Working smarter to protect our environment and serve our communities
The exemption regulation for the Bradford Bypass supports the province’s commitment to the maintenance and implementation of critical roadway infrastructure in Ontario and facilitate the seamless movement of people across the province.
The regulation also aligns with the province’s commitment to focus resources on more significant, complex infrastructure projects with the greatest potential for impacting the environment, rather than projects that have already completed an environmental assessment process and where environmental impacts are understood.
Ontario is currently consulting on other sensible and practical proposed changes to the environmental assessment program to ensure strong environmental oversight while reducing delays and focusing resources on projects that matter most to Ontario communities.
Environmental assessment (2002)
The former Minister of the Environment and Energy, with Cabinet’s concurrence, approved the Ministry of Transportation’s (MTO) Highway 400—Highway 404 Extension Link (Bradford Bypass) environmental assessment (EA) in August 2002. The approval allowed MTO to proceed to the design and construction stage for a new 16.2 km rural 4-lane controlled access freeway. The proposed freeway will connect Highway 400 in the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury to the proposed northerly extension of the Highway 404 Extension in the Town of East Gwillimbury. The design and construction of the highway will be subject to the MTO's Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities. This process provides for public consultation on the design and construction of the highway.