Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott continues to push the Ontario Government to place the Highway 6 Morriston bypass on the Ministry of Transportation’s five year plan for new highway construction.
Arnott again raised the need for the Morriston bypass directly with Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca on Oct. 29, and followed up again with the Deputy Premier in Question Period the next day.
During Question Period Arnott stated “On July 8, the Premier [Kathleen Wynne] acknowledged the need to construct the Highway 6 Morriston bypass. She said, and I quote from Hansard, ‘There are investments needed. I would just call attention to a statement that the member for Wellington-Halton Hills made yesterday.’”
He then asked “If the Premier, who is herself a former Minister of Transportation, thinks that the Highway 6 Morriston bypass is needed, why is it not yet on the ministry’s five-year plan for new highway construction?”
Arnott noted that the project has strong support throughout the area.
He pointed out that the Morriston Bypass Coalition includes the Township of Puslinch, the County of Wellington, the City of Guelph, the City of Hamilton, both the Guelph and Hamilton Chambers of Commerce, as well as businesses such as Tim Hortons, Maple Leaf Foods, Nestlé Waters, Canada Bread, and Cargill.
“Given the Premier’s comments, the clear need for this project and the broad community support, I submit that the government has no choice but to finally include the Highway 6 Morriston bypass in their five year plan,” Arnott concluded.
During those sessions the Minister of Transportation confirmed that the new 5 year plan for new highway construction is being finalized and will be released in the “near future.”
Arnott has been raising the need for the Highway 6 Morriston bypass with successive Ministers of Transportation for years.
Arnott stated “As you know from your tenure as Minister of Transportation, Highway 6 serves as a vital link between the 401 and the Hamilton/Niagara region and the US border. However, drivers travelling this route encounter a severe bottleneck in the community of Morriston, in Puslinch township, just south of the 401. Oftentimes traffic is backed up for kilometres in both directions.
“By constructing the Highway 6 Morriston bypass, this bottleneck would be eliminated, and traffic and goods could flow back and forth from Hamilton to the 401 more” easily and “quickly and safely. There would also be a” huge “positive economic benefit for a large region of the province. There is a huge economic cost related to the current congestion at Morriston.
Arnott then noted that on Oct. 6, a group that has formed, called the Morriston Bypass Coalition, met with many ministry staff, including staff of the Premier. Here are some of the key messages that they wanted to leave with the government:
“Intersected by Highway 6, the village of Morriston” in the township of Puslinch “has become a bottleneck at the centre of a main transportation and trade corridor. The two-lane stretch of road on an otherwise four-lane highway is impeding the movement of people and goods between Wellington county, the GTHA and the US.
“The Morriston bypass project would alleviate ever-worsening traffic issues in the area, saving local businesses and commuters more than $15 million a year today, and more than $30 million per year by 2031.
“Despite the long-acknowledged need for this essential infrastructure by the government, construction of the Morriston bypass project is now decades overdue.
“Businesses have made significant investments in the region on the understanding that the government was moving forward with the Morriston bypass. With every passing year of inaction, the success of those investments, and the jobs they generated, are put in jeopardy.”
They talked about the Tim Hortons Guelph facility employing 500 employees; Maple Leaf’s new 282,000-square-foot distribution centre in Puslinch township; Canada Bread investing in a $100-million plant in Hamilton; Nestle Waters Canada, Canada’s largest bottled-water manufacturer and distributor, 300 employees, with $10-million to $15-million worth of goods annually shipped through Morriston.
And they concluded with: “With their local main street serving double duty as a major transportation artery, local residents in Morriston have legitimate concerns about the safety and well-being of their families.”