Highway 7 expansion project under government review
A long-promised project that would improve the link between Kitchener and Guelph is under review.
The Ministry of Transportation says it is reviewing Highway 7 expansion plans, along with all other projects and spending committed by the previous government.
Over the last three years, significant work has been done to prepare for the project, most notably the reconstruction of the Victoria Street bridge.
“I remember that project from when I started here 30 years ago, discussions and so on,” said Pat Knechtel, the general manager at KW Surplus.
Millions of dollars have been spent on the project already, prompting disappointment from Guelph MPP Mike Schreiner.
“I’m disappointed because the government has spent over $100 million on this project,” he said.
Designs are still being developed for two new Highway 7 bridges over the Grand River, and environmental work is continuing.
Schreiner, who was originally against expanding Highway 7, now says the government should just see the project through.
“Given the amount of traffic back and forth between Guelph and KW, given the importance of the innovation corridor to our economy, it just makes sense that this would be an investment that will pay dividends for the province,” he said.
The Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce says an expanded highway would be a big boost for trade deals already in place.
“A lot of it depends on moving into Pearson Airport or the Hamilton Harbour, so that’s a key concern,” said Art Sinclair with the Chamber. “We have to move products to the east of here, and Highway 7 was one component of that strategy.”
The government says it will provide an update on its priorities in the near future.
It was estimated that it would take about seven years to complete the widening project.