By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express
Durham Region’s newest highways are officially opening to the public.
Highway 418 near Bowmanville and the extension of Highway 407 to Highway 35/115 will open on Monday (Dec. 9)
The first serves as 10 km connector route to Highway 401, while the 407 extension adds 14.2 kms to the toll highway.
Drivers using both roadways will be required to pay tolls.
“The completion of the Highway 407 East project will connect communities and greatly improve our transportation network in this region,” said Vijay Thanigasalm, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation. “I’m pleased to announce that the last phase [opened] ahead of schedule.”
Lindsey Park, MPP for Durham, said the highways opening for Christmas is “great news for all residents and travellers” in the area.
The extension of Highway 407 eastward into Durham Region and the City of Kawartha Lakes was first announced in 2007, with an original completion date of 2013.
But in 2010, the then-McGuinty Liberal government announced the project would be build in phases, with first phase going to Simcoe Street in Oshawa.
Local politicians and residents were outraged at this news, with then-Regional Chair the late-Roger Anderson saying the province had lied to Durham Region.
With pressure from the region, former Premier Kathleen Wynne reaffirmed commitment to build the extension all the way to Highway 115, with the first phase extended to end at Harmony Road instead of Simcoe Street.
That phase officially opened in 2016, along with the connector route Highway 412.
Over the past few years, both local and provincial politicians have called on Ontario to drop tolls from both Highway 412 and Highway 418.
Oshawa MPP Jennifer French introduced a bill to do so in October 2018, but it has yet to be addressed.