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Highway 7 is a provincially maintained highway in Southern Ontariomarker, Canadamarker. At its peak, Highway 7 measured a total distance of 716 km in length, stretching from Highway 40 east of Sarniamarker in Southwestern Ontario to Highway 417 southwest of Kanatamarker in Eastern Ontario. Ontarians often referred to Highway 7 as the Trans-Canada Highway although it only forms part of the Trans-Canada Highway east of Highway 12 near Sunderlandmarker.

In 1997 and 1998, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation downloaded portions of the highway to regional and municipal governments. Because of this, there are now two separated sections of Highway 7.

Western segment

The western segment of Highway 7 runs from Elginfield in Middlesex Countymarker in the southwest to the Haltonmarker - Peelmarker border at Norvalmarker near Bramptonmarker. This covers a distance of 152.6 km. This highway is a freeway for a 22.4 km stretch from Waterloo regional road 6 south of Badenmarker to Highway 85 in Kitchenermarker; this is part of the Conestoga Parkway. Plans to build a freeway bypass of Highway 7 from Kitchener, through Guelphmarker to Vaughanmarker are currently in development. With only two travel lanes, the section between Kitchener and Guelph is one of the most congested in the province.

At one point Highway 7 ran as far west as Sarnia, being the main route to the Blue Water Bridgemarker. Upon entering Sarnia, there is a plethora of motels and restaurants, the Sarnia Airportmarker, and attractions such as the bingo hall, Hiawatha Racetrack and Waterpark, giving that stretch the nickname "Golden Mile". At Highway 40, Highway 7 ended and the short freeway Highway 402 continued westwards to the Bluewater Bridgemarker at the border. Since 1982, the extension of Highway 402 to London has meant that most traffic bypasses Highway 7, due to 402's larger volume capabilities and higher allowable speeds. Consequently, most of the Golden Mile motels have gone into decline. Nonetheless, Highway 7 remained provincially maintained until that segment was downloaded on January 1, 1998 and is now known as London Line 22 (this also connects the former Highway 22.

The western segment was separated from the rest of Highway 7 on June 7, 1997, when the stretch from Brampton to Markhammarker was downloaded due to the opening of Highway 407. Part of that segment through Richmond Hillmarker was relocated on a new alignment (as a 6 lane at-grade expressway) in 1987 in order to make way for Highway 407; the former routing incorporated Langstaff Road. Shortly before the opening of Highway 407, some recently erected signage on Highway 404 still referenced Highway 7 as a provincial highway; this was not changed after the downloading.

Highway 7 through York Regionmarker, despite no longer being a provincial highway, is still officially named Highway 7 and received the number York Regional Road 7, displacing Islington Avenue which was redesignated York Regional Road 17. In 2005, Highway 7 was made the second main arterial for York Region's VIVA rapid transit service (after Yonge Street). Parts of the Markham portion were once called Wellington Street, but only a stub of the old road exists today east of Markham Road.

Eastern segment

The eastern segment of Highway 7 runs from Donald Cousens Parkway (York Regional Road 48) in Markham to Highway 417 in Ottawa, a length of 384 km.

At its junction with Highway 12 at Brooklinmarker, Highway 7 assumes a north-south routing and is concurrent with Highway 12 to Sunderland. The section from Highway 12 north of Sunderlandmarker to its eastern terminus is designated as part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

The Durham Regionmarker section from the York-Durham Line (Regional Road 30) to Sideline 16 at Brougham (the eastern terminus of Highway 407 was scheduled to be downloaded to Durham Region in 2006, but these plans were cancelled.

Between 1997 and 2003, the eastern segment of Highway 7 was split into two parts by a downloaded section between highways 7A and 28/115. This discontinuity was eliminated in 2003 by renumbering the portion of Highway 7A east of its former concurrency with Highway 115 as Highway 7, and signing Highway 7 concurrently with Highway 115 from the former Highway 7A junction easterly to the end of the Peterborough bypass.

The central segment of Highway 7 ran for 136.1 km from Reesor Road in Markham to Highway 7A, southwest of Peterboroughmarker. A distance of only 6 km separated the central segment from the eastern segment. This separation was eliminated in 2003.

The former eastern segment of Highway 7, which was separated from the central segment by only 6 km, had a total length of 242.8 km. It began at Highway 115 in Peterborough, and ran to Highway 417 near Kanata, which is now part of the city of Ottawamarker. This highway was a freeway for its first 6.5 km, from Highway 115 to Lansdowne Street East (once Highway 7B) in Peterborough. Its entire length was part of the Trans-Canada Highway.

In 2003, these two segments were connected by a renumbering around Peterborough, which created a new concurrency with Highway 115 and renumbered 7A to 7 in southwest Peterborough in order to connect them. The same year, construction started on a 21-km four-phase project between the 417 in Ottawa and Carleton Placemarker to convert Highway 7 to a four-lane, controlled access highway. Construction was once promised to be complete by 2006, but is now behind that schedule by at least two years. The projected date for completion is now 2011.

The eastern section from Peterborough to Highway 17 (now 417) near Kanata (now Ottawamarker) was built in the 1930s during the Great Depression, as a public works employment project. The road used an abandoned CP Rail corridor that was built in the 1880s, and used hand-power to dig and build the road whenever possible.

Upgrades

On March 23, 2007, Newswire reported that the Government of Ontario announced an Environmental Impact Assessment for a four lane dual-carriageway highway between Kitchenermarker, and Guelphmarker, as traffic on Highway 401 is growing steadily and approaching capacity, along with the current two-lane alignment of Highway 7. This would connect to the Conestoga Parkway via an expansion of the existing Wellington Road interchange, the new junction would be a four level interchange, the government's eventual plan is to have a Highway 7 freeway running from Stratford to Guelph. The eastern end of the proposed Highway 7 freeway would terminate at the Hanlon Parkway (Highway 6), which is also scheduled for upgrades to a full freeway.

There is also work on having Highway 7 being widened to four lanes from Brock Road in Pickering to Highway 12 in Whitby, which should be completed sometime in 2012.

Highway 7 is also widening to a four lane divided highway in the city of Ottawamarker that will run from Highway 417 to Carleton Placemarker at McNeeley Avenue (east of the Highway 15 junction) and is projected to be complete by the end of 2011.

See also



References

  1. Government of Ontario, courtesy of Newswire.ca
  2. Highway 7 Widening Opens


External links




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