What is the Highway 400–404 Connecting Link?
The Highway 400–404 Connecting
Link is a proposed 16.2 kilometre, four-lane controlled access highway
that will provide an east-west connection between Highway 400 in
Bradford West Gwillimbury and Highway 404 in the Town of East Gwillimbury. (click map for larger)
Highway 400–404 Connecting Link is intended to alleviate congestion on
east-west corridors across the Holland Marsh and to provide an
alternative path from eastern Toronto and eastern Greater Toronto Area
to Barrie and the rest of the Simcoe area. The Connecting Link would
provide a key link between the Simcoe Area and York Region and would aid
in economic development of the Simcoe Area and York Region.
Why is the 400–404 Connecting Link needed?
Highway 400–404 Connecting Link would reduce congestion, provide a
significantly improved connection between York Region and Simcoe Area
and make it easier to divert traffic between these roads when incidents
occur. It would support a wide variety of travel for commuters,
transit, tourists and freight.
The Highway 400–404 Connecting Link is needed to help:
travel options for residents and divert inter-regional travel around
core urban/settlement areas – reducing congestion, carbon dioxide
emissions, traffic accidents, property damage and health costs
- Provide opportunities for high occupancy vehicle and dedicated transit lanes
the movement of goods, grow and retain business investments and create
new investment opportunities – the movement of goods plays a major role
in the Region's economy, generating large revenues and hundreds of
thousands of jobs
Projections show the Connecting Link will
be heavily used in 2041, with 3,700 vehicles travelling in the peak
direction during morning rush hour. Although currently planned as a
four-lane highway, projections indicate a six-lane highway may be
required by 2041.
provincial Growth Plan forecasts population and employment growth for
York Region from 1.1 million people in 2014 to 1.79 million in 2041 and
for Simcoe County to grow from 461,000 in 2011 to 796,000 in 2041.
Employment will also grow in York Region from 565,000 in 2014 to 900,000
jobs in 2041 and in Simcoe County from 195,000 in 2011 to 304,000 in
and congestion remain key concerns for residents and businesses.
Addressing these concerns is a top priority to ensure our communities
continue to be places where people and businesses want to locate.
east-west connection between Highway 400 and Highway 404 would reduce
the demand on Regional, County and local roadways, enhance travel
options and support employment opportunities in and around the
Both York Region and Simcoe County
provide major transportation corridors accommodating auto, transit,
bicycle and pedestrian travel. These corridors provide travel across
cities and towns and connect with regional transportation systems. While
the Region and County are committed to building complete communities
where residents can live, work and meet their basic needs, visitors and
workers must also have multiple options of travel to key destinations.
The following facts demonstrate this approach:
- Considering modes of transportation (transit, carpooling, walking and cycling) when designing new roads
- Meeting or exceeding Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act standards on all new road projects and major repair projects including intersections
and implementing streets that allow safe access for all users,
including pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and transit riders of all
ages and abilities
- Creating dedicated bike lanes and innovative bike boxes, where appropriate, to allow cyclists increased safety
the Simcoe County Trails Strategy by creating a world-class network of
multi-purpose trails that connects communities while providing links to
natural, cultural and tourism assets
- Completing the Lake to Lake
cycling route and walking trail, an on-road and off-road trail from
Lake Simcoe at the northern edge of York Region through the City of
Toronto to Lake Ontario in the south
Ensuring ongoing economic sustainability
Connecting Link is key to supporting growing economic development,
specifically in the Towns of Georgina, East Gwillimbury, Bradford West
Gwillimbury and Innisfil.
Since completion of
Simcoe County's Transportation Master Plan in 2008, the County and its
local municipalities continue to experience growth in employment and
tourism, as well as seasonal and year-round residents. The number of
commercial vehicles travelling in the area continues to grow. In Simcoe
County, the largest forecasted commercial vehicle growth is expected in
the minerals, manufacturing, food and automotive commodity sectors. This
correlates with the existence of quarries and manufacturing plants in
the County, including the Honda plant in Alliston.
per cent of York Region residents commute to other regions for work.
York Region residents have some of the longest commute times and
distances in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. By providing
attractive spaces for economic development and convenient transportation
opportunities, commute times and distances are reduced as residents
find opportunities to live close to their work. York Region is committed
to continued creation of communities where people want to work and
live, reducing traffic on our roads and improving overall quality of
life. Increasing attractiveness of planned and potential future
employment areas is key to success in this regard, as a vibrant and
qualified labour force live in these areas and currently commute to
In Simcoe County, an important indicator of
long-term growth opportunities is the relationship between the number of
jobs and the number of resident workers. Data from 2006 indicated the
number of resident workers in the Simcoe area, 142,540, far exceeded the
number of available jobs of 83,525. This means a significant number of
Simcoe County residents also commute outside of the Simcoe area for
The Highway 400–404 Connecting Link
has been in discussion before, appearing in the 2002 Simcoe Area
Transportation Network Needs Assessment, York Region's Official Plans,
Simcoe County Official Plan and the Ministry of Transportation Simcoe
Area Multi-Modal Transportation Strategy.
A provincial environmental assessment was approved by Cabinet in 2002. (click history graphic for larger)
number of successful Provincial projects are improving travel in the
area. The completion of the Highway 404 extension from Green Lane to
Ravenshoe Road (which now carries up to 50,000 vehicles daily), ongoing
projects such as bus rapid transit, as well as plans for Regional
Express Rail and the Highway 427 extension are a few examples.
goods and people efficiently is a priority for all levels of government
and York Region and Simcoe County are pleased to continue working
together to find new ways to plan for transportation to address current
congestion, new trends and technologies and future growth.
Region and Simcoe County are also taking steps to change behaviours and
enhance its current road network. One area of improvement York Region is
working towards is refining its grid and reducing the number of
barriers in its roadways to minimize the stress on main corridors. To
achieve this objective, it is increasing the number of roads going
east-west, such as roads crossing over Highway 404 and 400.
will continue, however, without additional support to the road network
to maximize what is already underway, and congestion will continue to
adversely affect the way goods and people move. The Highway 400–404
Connecting Link is vital to improving connections, especially east-west
travel, resulting in improved transport time connecting suppliers and
manufacturers between York and Simcoe, as well as reducing traffic on
already congested arterial roadways.
The Connecting Link is
considered easy to implement as it is already an Environmental
Assessment-approved new corridor, and the corridor has a protected
right-of-way. Both York Region and Simcoe County support the new