Oak Park Road Extension

The City of Brantford, through consulting firm Parsons Inc., is undertaking a Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) Study for the extension of Oak Park Road between the Kramer’s Way / Hardy Road intersection and Colborne Street West. This project is being carried out under the planning and design process for a Schedule C project as outlined in the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (October 2000, as amended in 2007, 2011 and 2015).

The Study

The extension is intended to improve overall traffic operations and accommodate population and employment growth in the City by helping to connect communities, alleviate traffic demand on existing local routes, reduce travel times, and support future developments. 

View our Oak Park Road Extension Study Area

Project background

Previous transportation master plans and the most recent Transportation Master Plan (TMP) Update (2014) recommends the extension include a four-lane arterial road with a crossing over the Grand River. This study will build off the Brantford Corridor Study 1981, the recommendations of the City’s TMP Update, and the Oak Park Road Extension Feasibility Study 2019, that evaluated technical alternatives for the Oak Park Road extension.

At the August 27, 2019 Council Meeting, the City Council passed a resolution to undertake the Oak Park Road Environmental Assessment, and also directed staff to:

  • exclude the use of the Glebe Lands in the transportation alternatives being developed for the City as part of the Transportation Master Plan update that is currently underway, unless otherwise requested by the Six Nations of the Grand River; and
  • develop a disposition strategy for the properties acquired for the Veterans Memorial Parkway that are no longer required for that project, following the completion of the  Transportation Master Plan, and REPORT BACK to Council following the completion of the Transportation Master Plan update with a  recommended disposition strategy and options on how to direct funds from the sale of any properties.

In response to the City Council decision to exclude the use of the Glebe Lands in the transportation alternatives being developed for the City as part of the Transportation Master Plan update, the Elected Council of the Six Nations of the Grant River issued a news release welcoming this decision.

Project outcomes

The Oak Park Road Extension Class EA will:

  • Assess / confirm the need and justification for the extension of Oak Park Road
  • Identify and evaluate a range of alternative solutions and design concepts to support traffic demand and growth, while also considering impacts on natural, cultural and socio-economic environments
  • Develop a preliminary design and identify mitigation measures for environmental impacts to be carried forward into subsequent project phases

Frequently Asked Questions

The City is aware of the complex issues that may arise during this project and the potential impact on local communities. Given public input is a vital part of this study, below you will find answers to the most common questions about this project.

Why is the Oak Park Road extension necessary?

Completing the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Oak Park Road Extension has been identified as key recommendation of the City’s current and previous Transportation Master Plan (TMP) that identifies the infrastructure necessary to meet the demands of the city’s forecasted growth. Essentially, the proposed extension from Hardy Road between the Kramer’s Way / Hardy Road intersection and Colborne Street West would provide a third Grand River crossing for residents, businesses and visitors. The additional river crossing would be located in an area upstream of the two existing crossings near the city’s core, ultimately providing an alternative crossing in the event of an emergency requiring closure of the existing crossings.

What are the traffic trouble areas of the city that will be improved by the extension?

Currently, traffic flow in Brantford is heavily dependent on downtown streets including Brant Avenue, Clarence Street/Clarence Street South, Paris Road, Colborne Street and Dalhousie Street as ways to get across the city and to access Highway 403. These primary arteries of the city will become even more congested as the city grows. The Oak Park Road Extension will provide an alternative to cutting through Brantford’s downtown to get to retail and employment areas as well as access to the 403.

How many vehicles per day will use the Oak Park Road Extension?

The City’s current analysis indicates that by 2041, the Oak Park Road Extension will have an AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) of 12,400 vehicles.  Most of these vehicle trips will be generated by ongoing and/or expected planned future developments in south and west Brantford and the County of Brant. The extension will ease congestion on alternate and parallel routes, particularly on Lorne Bridge and Brant Avenue.

How will the Oak Park Road Extension help ease congestion/traffic on Rest Acres Road and Paris/Brant Avenue?

The Oak Park Road Extension is expected to redirect approximately 3,600 vehicles per day from Rest Acres Road and Brant Avenue/Lorne Bridge by 2041, helping reduce traffic capacity burdens on those roads.

Why can’t residents in southwest Brantford and Brant County use alternative routes to get to and from Highway 403?

Currently there is not a direct connection between homes in growing southwest Brantford or places of industry/business in northwest Brantford, and Highway 403. Motorists and bus riders have to use Rest Acres Road or Brant Avenue/Lorne Bridge. Neither of these is a direct route to Highway 403 which results in longer distances travelled.

Both Lorne Bridge and Veteran’s Memorial Parkway (VMP) Bridge are congested today and will continue to be in the future. In addition to widening the VMP Bridge to four lanes, the proposed Oak Park Road Extension is necessary to increase Grand River bridge crossing capacity for motorists and to avoid the congestion of through trips resulting from travel from other communities across the city. Further widening of either Lorne Bridge or VMP Bridge and the connecting roadways is not viable as operational constraints on either side of the river will limit the effectiveness of the widening. At the August 27, 2019, Council Meeting, Brantford City Council passed a resolution to exclude the use of the Glebe Lands in the transportation alternatives being developed for the city as part of the City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) update. The proposed Oak Park Road extension is the most effective option to divert through traffic to/from Highway 403 without directing traffic towards downtown and other areas across the city.

County Road 18 is an alternative route now being used to route some traffic to Highway 403 but does not connect homes in southwest Brantford and jobs in northwest Brantford.

The Oak Park Road connection to Colborne Street West will also allow for improved transit routes and truck traffic, diverting heavy truck traffic from Lorne Bridge and connecting roads such as Brant Avenue.

Will the new roadway be illuminated?

Due to the number of lanes and volume of traffic it is expected to carry illumination of the roadway will be required for safety considerations. Many modern street lighting designs reduce light pollution and are “dark sky” compliant, such as the use of reduced glare LED lamps that could be considered for this project. Detailed design measures to shield the roadway from the surrounding areas through landscaped features or otherwise will also help to reduce both light and noise coming from the roadway.

Will the new roadway increase noise levels?

The introduction of several thousand vehicles annually is expected to increase noise levels and the noise levels at the adjacent receptors will be quantified as part of the current Environmental Assessment underway.  In addition, the study will also review and recommend measures to mitigate the identified noise impacts on adjacent properties and community facilities.  These measures may include, but not necessarily be limited to, tree plantings, berms, naturalized landscaping and noise walls.

Will the new roadway cause increases to local air pollution levels?

Air pollution is typically a regional concern and difficult to isolate on specific transportation corridors. However, air pollution due to emission will be decreased because of reduced travel time and distance.  Traffic analysis has determined that an Oak Park Road extension would both reduce travel times to/from southwest Brantford and Highway 403 by 21 to 23% in addition to reducing travel distance by 4 to 6%. Tree plantings, naturalized landscaping and other measures along the roadway will also help filter air pollution along the Oak Park Road extension.

 
Will the new bridge crossing increase ice jamming or flooding on the Grand River?

Minimizing the potential for ice jamming at the proposed location of the new bridge crossing is a key consideration of this study. We have already initiated discussions with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) regarding this issue and are in the process of identifying if any historical records of ice jamming along this section of the Grand River exists.

A major standard for approval by the GRCA for the installation of any new bridge crossing is the limitation of upstream impacts to the regional floodplain limits. This project will be no exception. The study and subsequent detailed design of the bridge structure will identify measures to mitigate ice jamming that might result from the installation of bridge piers and/or abutments within the Grand River floodplain.

What will happen to the existing trails in the area?
Recognizing the importance of trails in our community, the objective of this project is to not only to maintain but to enhance the local trail network and their connection to local natural environments. The new roadway will have a multi-use trail on one or both sides to provide added routes for active transportation. Where existing trails are displaced by the proposed roadway, the construction of new alternative trails will be proposed to ensure that use and enjoyment of the area trail system is maintained.
How will this project impact cyclists from both Brantford and surrounding areas? 
One of the key objectives of this project is to improve and enhance opportunities for active transportation in our area by providing additional connections to bike routes on other area roadways as well as an additional route for crossing the Grand River.
Will access to Robinson Road and Jennings Road be maintained?  Will access to the Brant Conservation Area and cemetery be impacted?
The new Oak Park Roadway Extension will not limit access to local roadways or adjacent properties including the Brant Conservation Area and cemetery, although reconfigurations of those accesses may be required. At this stage n the EA process we cannot predict exactly how the extension will impact the cemetery because the final alignment has not yet been determined. However, we can ensure that both access to the cemetery and the integrity of existing plots will absolutely be maintained.
Will wildlife habitats and natural environment features be impacted?

While there will be some impact to the local natural environment and habitats as part of the construction of the Oak Park Road Extension, the protection, preservation and, wherever possible, the enhancement of existing wildlife habitats within the study area is a key priority. Before construction can begin, the City will require permits from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), all of whom will require that the final designs be in complete compliance with the latest federal and provincial regulations protecting to the furthest extent possible and practical any identified Species-at-Risk (SAR) and their habitats.

As part of the Municipal Class Environmental Assessment currently underway, the consultant team is completing detailed inventories of the area’s terrestrial and aquatic habitats and working closely with the MNRF to identify any Species-at-Risk (SAR) or other significant environmental features such as wetland areas that might be directly or indirectly impacted by the project.

Roadway alignments and designs will be selected with the objective of minimizing the footprint of the new roadway or bridge and providing a full range of measures to mitigate identified environmental impacts. Features such as wildlife crossings and the creation of new and expanded habitats at alternative locations within the corridor will be considered.

How will the local public and our neighbouring Indigenous Communities be consulted?

The first Public Information Centre (PIC) for this project will be virtual and is in the process of being organized and scheduled to take place in late November followed by additional public meeting opportunities at key decision points throughout the study. Notices will be published in Civic News, and posted on City websites and social media in the coming weeks.

As part of the consultation efforts for this project, the City has notified the appropriate Indigenous Communities of the study area and has met and discussed the project with representatives of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation and Six Nations of the Grand River.

Moving forward, the City is committed to continue working closely and collaboratively with Indigenous Communities as their valuable input and perspectives into the evaluation of alternatives, development of environmental mitigation measures and preferred design concept are integral to this project.

How much will this new roadway extension cost and how will the project impact my property tax?

While the Feasibility Study (2019) provided for a preliminary estimate of approximately $100 million for the road connection between Colborne Street West and Hardy Road, a more accurate cost estimate will be developed during the preparation of the Environmental Assessment.

As per Council’s directive in June 2019 (report 2019-384), the City is committed to keeping taxes affordable and ensuring that tax increases do not exceed inflation. While some funding through taxes will be required, the construction will also be funded from Development Charges (DC), as the roadway will provide significant benefits to the development community. The DC study will be conducted after the completion of the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and will consider inputs from the Environmental Assessment and preliminary design costs.

I live in the area. Will there be more traffic in front of my house?
While the extension will connect homes in southwest Brantford, and places of industry/business in northwest Brantford and Highway 403, the extension will be an arterial road with no immediate or direct connection to neighbourhood streets such as Oakhill Drive.
Has the City considered other options?

The City’s Transportation Master Plan outlines the various alternative solutions to address the capacity constraints on the critical arterial roads as the City grows to 2041. 

They include:

  • Reducing the travel demands through Transportation Demand Measures (TDMs) and traffic system measures (TSMs) such as signal timings, parking restrictions, turn restrictions
  • Modify modal share to reduce use of vehicle travel through enhancements to Active transportation and Transit services in these growth areas
  • However even with these improvements the capacity problems exist that will require
  • Widenings of these roadways (Brant Avenue, Lorne Bridge, Paris Avenue, Hardy Road) which would result in significant property acquisitions and impacts on the adjacent land uses through the built-up areas to increase their carrying capacity OR
  • Building the alternative north south connection from Colborne Street to Hardy Road (the Oak Park Road Extension) to divert traffic from the congested corridors and providing the necessary capacity to accommodate the forecasted growth in travel demands

The Transportation Master plan concluded that based on a number of factors, the best solution is the additional north-south capacity located in the transportation corridor identified in previous Transportation Master Plans since the 1981 Brantford Corridor Study, and protected as a future transportation corridor in the City’s Official Plan.

The feasibility study identified potential alternatives, methods, and alignments for this transportation corridor and the EA will further examine alternative methods of adding transportation capacity with various alignments of the roadway and river crossings that will minimize the impacts on the environment (natural, social, economic etc.).

When I’m camping at Brant Park, how will I sleep under the stars while hearing the vehicles from 4 lanes of traffic? 
The closest edge of the Brant Conservation Area campgrounds will be more than 200 metres away from the nearest edge of the proposed roadway.  This distance, in combination with tree plantings, natural landscaping and other noise mitigation measures between the road and campgrounds, will minimize noise impacts from the roadway on the Conservation area and other adjacent properties.
How will I enjoy a trip down the Grand River from Paris to Brant Park when the last thing I see at the end of my float will be 4 lanes of traffic, adding noise and air pollution?

Measures will be taken to reduce noise impacts. These considerations include tree plantings, berms, naturalized landscaping and noise walls.

Air pollution is typically a regional concern and difficult to isolate on specific transportation corridors. However, air pollution due to emission will be decreased because of reduced travel time and distance. Traffic analysis has determined that an Oak Park Road extension would both reduce travel times to/from southwest Brantford and Highway 403 by 21 to 23% in addition to reducing travel distance by 4 to 6%. Tree plantings, naturalized landscaping and other measures along the roadway will also help filter air pollution along the Oak Park Road extension.

A priority of the EA is to identify the preferred options to design and build a bridge crossing and roadway, integrating the surrounding natural environment to the furthest extent possible and practical.

When will the Oak Park Road environmental assessment be complete?
Findings from the Environmental Assessment are expected to be presented to City Council in the fourth quarter of 2021, followed by a 30-day public review period.

Please contact the Oak Park Road Team if you have a specific question or concern that has not been answered above.

Send an email to the Oak Park Road Team

The Process

Consultation with the public, relevant technical agencies and stakeholder groups is a key element of the Class EA study. To facilitate this, Public Information Centres (PICs) will be held to present project information and progress. The first PIC will be held virtually and will be available on this project page starting on November 27, 2020, at 3:00 p.m. PIC notices will be advertised during the study and mailed to agencies and stakeholders to provide opportunities for involvement in the study. Upon completion of the study, an Environmental Study Report (ESR) will be prepared and made available for a 30-day public review period. The ESR will document the Municipal Class EA planning and decision-making process undertaken.  

For more information, to provide comments, or to be added to the mailing list contact, please contact:

Evie Przybyla, MCIP, RPP Senior Transportation Project Manager
City of Brantford, Engineering Services
T: 519-759-4150 Ext. 5379
C: 226-388-0685
Email Us

Marko Paranosic, P.Eng., Project Manager
Parsons Inc.
101-540 Bingemans Center Drive
Kitchener, ON N2B 3X9
T: 519-340-1078