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City marching toward connected Bryne Dr. to further open up Barrie's south end

Ward councillor calls Bryne Drive project 'long overdue'; Critical north-south link will connect Mapleview Drive and Essa Road
2021-06-24 IM bridge open
This file photo shows the bridge over Highway 400 connecting Harvie Road and Big Bay Point Road in south-end Barrie. In the foreground is the intersection for the yet-to-be built Bryne Drive extension, which already has a set of traffic lights.

Ten dollars worth of land is the latest piece in the planning puzzle to connect both ends of Barrie’s Bryne Drive in the south end.

City council will consider final approval Monday night to a motion to proceed with buying the 5.2-acre right-of-way from SmartCentres which is needed for the construction of Bryne between Harvie Road and Caplan Avenue.

Completing Bryne Drive will serve as a critical north-south link connecting Mapleview Drive and Essa Road.

“The connection of Bryne Drive is long overdue,” said Coun. Gary Harvey, who represents this part of Barrie. “This connection will alleviate a lot of traffic from Essa Road, as people will have a second option to get from Mapleview Drive to Essa Road and (the Highway) 400 area, without having to travel so far west.

“This will lower travel times, ease congestion, which in turn will lower carbon emissions from vehicles," he added. 

Bryne Drive from Essa Road to Caplan Avenue will have four through lanes, two in each direction, a two-way left-turn lane, buffered bike lanes, and sidewalks on both sides. 

In addition to paying $10 for the right-of-way, the city would reimburse SmartCentres reasonable legal costs associated with completing the land transfer, to a maximum of $5,000.

Hooking up both ends of Bryne Drive also supports the Harvie/Big Bay Point crossing over Highway 400 by providing a more complete road network in the area.

Completing Bryne Drive will improve traffic flow in south-end Barrie and provide an alternative to Mapleview Drive for motorists and cyclists, while improving pedestrian safety  as well as accommodate and accelerate development of the adjacent lands.

“This will also be the beginning of a whole new industrial area with Highway 400-facing businesses coming to Barrie,” Harvey said. “For the last several years, we have not been able to attract employers that have the requirement to face Highway 400.

“More employers means more jobs coming to the city, which is much needed as residential development is ramping up with several high rises in the downtown on their way  along with several thousand homes to be built in the south end over the next two to five years. Phase one in my Ward 7 on the Salem side alone consists of 2,400 residential units," the councillor added. 

The two-stage Bryne Drive project  Harvie Road to Caplan Avenue, and Harvie Road to Essa Road  is well underway.

For the Harvie Road to Caplan Avenue portion, the detailed design of the project is complete, needed property acquisition is taking place this year, utility relocations in 2021 and early 2022, and construction next year.

City staff say this section is also needed to reduce traffic congestion at the Essa Road and Mapleview Drive highway interchanges by redirecting east-west traffic to the Harvie-Big Bay Point crossing.

This portion of the project is about one kilometre in length and carries a cost of almost $13.8 million, paid for from development charges and the city’s tax capital reserve. Development charges are designed to recover the capital costs associated with residential and non-residential (commercial, industrial, institutional) growth within a municipality.

On the stretch of Bryne Drive from Harvie to Essa roads, 90 per cent of the detailed design has been completed. Property acquisition is expected to occur in 2025, with utility relocations expected in 2026  but construction isn’t anticipated to start until 2027. This portion carries a total project cost of $21.9 million, funded from development charges and taxes, for these 800 metres of road.




Bob Bruton

About the Author: Bob Bruton

Bob Bruton is a full-time BarrieToday reporter who covers politics and city hall.
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