October 03, 2012

Winston Churchill upgrade delayed until 2016

As published in The Erin Advocate

Peel Region has delayed by three more years the reconstruction of Winston Churchill Boulevard, between Olde Baseline Road and Terra Cotta.

The project had been discussed for decades, and in 2009 a final plan was presented at a public information session in Terra Cotta. Design and property acquisition were to have been done by this year, with construction in 2013.

But now, capital forecasts indicate the property acquisition will not start until 2014, with construction in 2016, according to Peel Transportation Engineer Gary Kocialek. Since Winston Churchill is a boundary road, the Region will pay half of the projected $4.1 million cost, with Wellington County and Halton Region splitting the balance.

Peel has safety concerns about the gravel stretch, the Region's only unpaved road, especially because of the steep grade and poor sightlines just south of the intersection with Ballinafad Road (also known as the Erin-Halton Hills Townline, Wellington County Rd. 42 or Sideroad 32).

It needs full reconstruction to meet modern engineering standards, but some Terra Cotta residents have opposed upgrades for fear of additional commuter traffic, mainly from Erin. As of 2006, the road was handling 245 vehicles per hour each morning, and 300 per hour each afternoon.

The region says it does not expect any traffic impact on Terra Cotta, from drivers wanting to access the future extension of Highway 410 towards Georgetown. Now that Erin's 5 Sideroad has been reconstructed, Erin drivers are able more easily able to avoid Terra Cotta, getting to Mississauga Road via Olde Baseline Road.

There had also been concerns about the environmental impact of the road improvement, so the path of the road was altered to avoid some sensitive areas. Urban-style curbs are planned for some sections, taking rainwater along the road to outlet points, reducing the need for wide ditches.