Motorists eastbound on Line 5 in Bradford West Gwillimbury, expecting to use the on-ramp to the northbound Highway 400, had a bit of a surprise this morning.
The ramp was temporarily blocked by town's public works staff – not for repairs, but because the ribbon-cutting officially opening the new Line 5 bridge and Highway 400 interchange was taking place on the ramp, with the bridge in the background.
The interchange has been open to traffic since December – a “soft” opening that allowed motorists to discover the alternate route into Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Monday’s event made it official, bringing together Bradford West Gwillimbury Mayor Rob Keffer and members of council, MP for King-Vaughan and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue Deb Schulte, and Simcoe County Warden George Cornell to cut the ribbon.
“Our employment lands are open for business,” Keffer said of the new interchange. “It’s the gateway to our employment lands.”
Schulte noted the approximately $54-million project was the result of successful partnerships and co-operation among levels of government in the works since 2012.
“It’s a key piece of Bradford West Gwillimbury economic development,” she said, “providing economic development for this area.”
Asked about ongoing construction, Keffer acknowledged the final piece of the puzzle is the Southwest Arterial road – widening Line 5 and Sideroad 10 to four lanes.
“They’ll be starting construction this year,” Keffer said, with a completion date sometime in 2020.
“It’s a two-year project,” he noted, and one that will include a bicycle trail on one side of the roadway, providing for active transportation as well as improved access to Highway 400.
A representative of the provincial government was unable to attend the ribbon-cutting - the one partner in the project missing from the official opening.