By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Indepeendent
Barrhaven residents are one step closer to seeing a new highway interchange built in the community.
On March 18, Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, who is also the minister in charge of tourism, culture, and sport, announced the Ontario government has signed a legal agreement with the City of Ottawa, to proceed with an environmental assessment of a highway interchange at Barnsdale Road and Highway 416.
The project has been in the works for well over a decade, and Barrhaven residents have been stepping up the pressure to see it built.
Barrhaven is seeing more growth than most communities in Ontario, and has grown from a population of 40,000 people in 2001 to 77,000 by 2012 — a growth of 37,0l0 people in less than 12 years. The community now has over 100,000 residents and continues to grow exponentially as Barrhaven continues to build beyond Marketplace and the Costco mall.
“This is absolutely necessary,” said MacLeod. “Our transportation infrastructure needs to keep up with the rapid pace of growth in our community.”
Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder has also long called for the interchange to be built.
“This one will make better use of 416; and also, it will take a lot of pressure out of the internal roads here, and give people an opportunity to head south — in order to head north,” Harder noted.
Harder previously said the City has identified this interchange as necessary infrastructure as part of its Transportation Master Plan – and is the only missing link to our 400 series highways and Ontario’s important Moving Goods Corridors. She said more direct access to Highway 416 will help support rapid residential growth and the increase of economic activity bringing thousands of new jobs to Barrhaven.”
Currently in Barrhaven, the only Highway interchange is at Fallowfield Road and HighWay 16. Once built, this new interchange will better serve residents to the south.
Plans for the new interchange at Barnsdale have been announced before, and in October 2021, MacLeod announced a verbal agreement was reached to begin the environmental study, a process that will take years to complete. Now six months later, the legal process for this to begin is complete.
But with a provincial election less than 70 days away, MacLeod wanted to reiterate the province’s commitment.
“Today, what’s new is not only our government’s commitment to ensuring that this Barnsdale exit comes to fruition; but, there will be public consultation occurring. It’s important that the public participates in this and shares their views,” MacLeod said.
While the community of Barrhaven is anxious to have this new highway interchange built, it will still be years away.
The Ministry of Transportation says once the Environmental Study is complete, the city will be in charge of construction and timeline. Ottawa will also be in charge of funding the project.