‘Another step closer’: Ontario advances work for Highway 6 expansion

PUSLINCH – The Ontario government has issued a request for proposal (RFP) to deliver the new Hanlon Expressway interchange, which will see the removal of two at-grade intersections, bypassing traffic around the community of Morriston.

The new interchange is expected to create an improved link between Highway 401 and the Guelph area, enhancing safety and capacity along the Hanlon Expressway.

A July 15 press release from the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) announced the RFP procurement package to design and build the Highway 6 (Hanlon Expressway) midblock interchange, which will help to alleviate congestion on local roads.

“Our government is making smart investments in highways, roads and bridges to strengthen and expand our highway network,” stated transportation minister Caroline Mulroney in the press release.

“We are one step closer to constructing the next phase of this essential work to make our roads safer, alleviate traffic congestion throughout the communities of Morriston and Aberfoyle, and to help this important region grow.”

The MTO plan proposes closing access to the Hanlon Expressway at Maltby Road, widening a section of Highway 401, and adding a new off ramp from the 401 that bypasses the village of Morriston, joining Highway 6 South at Maddaugh Road.

The design-build teams will be shortlisted from the expression of interest phase and will be invited to submit proposals for design and construction, the release explained. The proposals will then be submitted to the MTO in October.

The contract is anticipated to be awarded in winter of 2021-22, with construction expected to begin later in 2022, following completion of the detailed design.

The province has allocated approximately $2.6 billion to expand and repair Ontario’s highways and bridges for 2020-21.

Phase one of the Highway 6 and 401 Morriston bypass expansion project was completed last year when the replacement of Puslinch Concession Road 7 bridge over the 401 was completed.

Removal of the at-grade intersections is required before construction of future interchange improvements at Highway 401 and Highway 6 North can proceed, the release noted.

In response to the announcement, Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott expressed his appreciate for the support and work done to date.

“I want to once again express my sincere appreciation to successive councils and staff at the Township of Puslinch and the County of Wellington for all that they’ve done to support the Highway 6 Morriston Bypass project,” Arnott stated.

“We have also had vocal support from many community partners, including the Morriston Bypass Coalition and local residents.

“I want to thank the minister of transportation and her staff as well, for listening and getting us another step closer to finally building the Morriston bypass.”

Puslinch council concerned about emergency response times

While happy to see progress on the Morriston bypass, Puslinch council expressed reservations in March about the MTO’s draft design concept.

With a centre median proposed along a section of Highway 6, the Puslinch fire department expressed concerns about response times and its ability to access properties.

In March, Fire Chief Luis Gomes said the new configuration would change the route firetrucks take to respond to accidents on Highway 401 and at other locations in the township, which would add detours and time.

Puslinch Mayor James Seeley was contacted for comment on the latest announcement but did not respond.

For more information on the project, visit http://highway6-hanloncityofguelph.ca/.