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Province reveals bridge designs as part of long-delayed Hwy. 7 expansion

A major development in a local infrastructure project has been unveiled by the province.

Designs for two bridges over the Grand River were shared as part of the long-awaited new Highway 7.

The construction of the four-lane highway has been promised for at least three decades.

"I think the indication here is the province is serious about moving forward with this project which is great news I think," said Art Sinclair, vice president of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce.

Sinclair is pleased to see the designs for the twin bridges, saying it’s a positive sign of a step forward.

"There is progress and I think a lot of people are going to see the diagrams and they're going to see what this is."

Now, the Ministry of Transportation is seeking the public’s feedback on the project. Currently, funding is not in place and there is no exact start date for construction.

The Ministry tells CTV News in an email: “Once all public comments have been reviewed and consultation with First Nations for this stage have been completed, a final design and Construction Report will be posted.”

LOCALS REACT

Meantime, some local residents are anxiously awaiting for construction to get underway.

"We have so many more people that are driving nowadays that you need more than one main route to get to and from a location at this point," said Kitchener resident, Rachel Verhoeven.

With relatives in Guelph, Verhoeven often makes the trip to the Royal City and says traffic can constantly be stop and go but with the new highway, she anticipates her commute will go a lot more smoothly.

"This will allow them to make easier transit between the two cities it may actually even allow them to start connecting a bus more directly between Kitchener and Guelph."

(Source: Ministry of Transportation)

The new highway could also boost economic development in both the Wellington area and Waterloo Region.

"The growth projections in terms of both population and economic growth in the next 30 years are quite significant, so we need that infrastructure to support that growth," Sinclair said.

Bridge construction is estimated to take three to four years, pointing towards 2027 or later being the time when construction could be completed, two decades after the province first approved the new highway.

"There's going to have to be a significant level of consultation, review and assessments that are going to have to be done,” Sinclair explained. “People will be getting excited and enthusiastic about this project."

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