In 2002 the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) initiated a comprehensive operational review of Highway 417 from west of Highway 416 easterly to west of Anderson Road in response to growing traffic volumes in the City of Ottawa. This study evaluated opportunities to optimize the use of the existing facility, while providing for the efficient movement of people and goods. It examined existing and potential future problems and opportunities and provided a Preliminary Recommended Plan to guide the long term evolution of the Queensway. The study examined the mainline, as well as all interchanges and crossing roadways within the study limits.
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In 2007, the preliminary design of the Ottawa Queensway Project from Highway 416 to Anderson Road was completed. The Recommended Plan was documented in a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR), which received environmental clearance in 2008. The TESR documents environmentally significant aspects of the planning, design, and construction of the proposed plan.
The recommended plan includes the following components:
- Widen Highway 417 from three to four mainline lanes in each direction from Highway 416 to Carling Avenue and from Metcalfe Street to OR 174;
- Retain the existing number of mainline lanes from Carling Avenue to Metcalfe Street;
- Widen Highway 417 from 2 to three lanes in each direction from OR 174 to east of Walkley Road;
- Retain the basic horizontal and vertical geometry throughout;
- Modify the interchanges at Richmond Road, Greenbank Road, Woodroffe Avenue, Carling Avenue, Parkdale Avenue, Bronson Avenue, Lyon Street, Nicholas Street and St. Laurent Boulevard to improve safety and traffic operations;
- Revise/enhance drainage system to accommodate proposed widening;
- Rehabilitate pavement, bridges, and the illumination system as required;
- Upgrade the existing Advance Traffic Management System including additional pavement loop detectors, cameras, changeable message signs and queue end warning devices;
- Upgrade noise walls to current standards; and
- Replace/enhance landscaping.
The Recommended Plan includes the following mitigation measures to minimize environmental impacts:
- If the recommended detail design is found to result in a harmful alteration, destruction or disruption of fish habitat, the aquatic habitat in areas of disturbance is to be improved in accordance with the fisheries compensation plan;
- Vegetation will be replaced, where feasible, in accordance with the landscape concept plan;
- Trees to remain will be protected and vegetation removal will be minimized;
- Stormwater management facilities will be designed to reduce runoff to pre-construction rates;
Social and Cultural Environment
- Landscaping will be implemented to enhance the aesthetic design of bridges and retaining walls in order to minimize visual intrusion and to provide visual screening and aesthetic enhancement;
- A noise barrier will be provided in the southeast quadrant of the Bronson Avenue interchange to mitigate impacts;
- Retrofit noise barriers are to be provided as identified by the Ministry of Transportation’s Noise Barrier Retrofit Program;
Land Use and Property
- Retaining walls will be installed to minimize property requirements;
- Property acquisition will be compensated for through the MTO Property Acquisition process; and
- Environmental Site Assessments will be completed and will provide mitigation measures to address site contamination, where indicated, for property to be acquired.