By Charlie Senack, Manotick Messenger
South Carleton and the southern part of Barrhaven are one step closer to having a future Highway 416 interchange at Barnsdale Road, alleviating traffic impacts for commuters.
Last month, Nepean MPP and Tory Cabinet Minister Lisa MacLeod announced the Ontario government has reached a formal agreement with the City of Ottawa to proceed with an Environmental Assessment for the project which has long been in the works.
The Environmental Assessment, which will take years to complete, is the first step in a long process to have the interchange built.
“Today marks a major milestone in the efforts to establish a much needed 416 interchange in Barrhaven,” MacLeod said in a statement. “Barrhaven is one of the fastest-growing communities in Ontario, and an additional highway interchange will help to facilitate economic growth, alleviate congestion and reduce commute times for residents.”
Barrhaven is one of the fastest growing communities in Ontario, according to the province. Barrhaven now has close to 100,000 residents, and should climb by 20,000 more in the next 10 years. The villages of Manotick and Richmond, who will also be served by the interchange, are also expected to see substantial growth over the next decade.
“The Barnsdale/416 interchange is an important project for the south end of Barrhaven and surrounding communities,” said Rideau-Goulbourn Councillor Scott Moffatt, whose ward currently includes Richmond, most of Manotick, and a chunk of the southern part of Barrhaven that approaches Barnsdale Road. “It’s exciting to see steps are being taken to advance this project. Councillor Jan Harder has been advocating tirelessly for this interchange. When built, it will complete another missing piece in the south end transportation network.”
Caroline Mulroney, the Minister of Transportation, said the interchange will be an important aspect in planning critical work “for the future needs of this fast-growing region.”
Once built, “This new interchange at Barnsdale Road will play a key role in helping to alleviate traffic on the major north-south roads and divert more cars to the currently underused 416 highway,” the press release said.
“In 2013, City of Ottawa Transportation Master Plan Update included widening of Barnsdale Road from Highway 416 easterly to Prince of Wales Drive and their Road Network,” it also read. “The City of Ottawa 2031 Network Concept included a new interchange (not partial) at Highway 416/Barnsdale Road.”
Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder says having the interchange built has long been a priority for the city. She says once built, it will greatly benefit those who live in Half Moon Bay.
“Building the Barnsdale Interchange is a top priority for the residents of Barrhaven and the City of Ottawa,” she said. “The City has identified this interchange as necessary infrastructure as part of its Transportation Master Plan – and it’s really the only missing link to our 400 series highways and Ontario’s important Moving Goods Corridors. More direct access to Highway 416 will help support our rapid residential growth as well as the flurry of economic activity and the thousands of news jobs finding a home in Barrhaven.”
Gloucester-South Nepean councillor Carol Anne Meehan agreed.
“I am very pleased to hear that the Barnsdale/416 Interchange project is moving one step closer to becoming a reality. Ottawa’s south end desperately needs another access point to and from the 416,” said Meehan. “With the growth in the communities of Barrhaven, Riverside South and Findlay Creek, and, with the pending construction of the new Truck Depot on Prince of Wales, now more than ever, Ottawa needs these important infrastructure projects to move forward as quickly as possible.”
On Oct. 25, a study start-up meeting will occur with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation project team, the consultant, and City of Ottawa representatives. The study completion is expected in February 2023.