Jeff Heuchert, Stratford Gazette
The Ministry of Transportation will host its next round of public information centres regarding the Highway 7/8 expansion to gather feedback on the latest design alternatives for the corridor – which could now include a possible bypass north of Shakespeare instead of to the south.
The ministry’s so-called preferred route for the highway corridor between New Hamburg and Stratford, which was revealed to the public in January 2011, runs west along the existing highway before dipping south around Road 106. It curves further south around Road 109 and connects with Line 33 (Pork Road).
But now it appears the ministry is prepared to revisit the possibility of sending travellers north to avoid the village.
“In response to municipal stakeholder input, the study team will be examining in greater detail the route alternative that uses the existing Highway 7/8 west of Shakespeare via a north bypass and a segment of Road 110 as the linkage from existing highway to Lorne Avenue (Line 33),” reads a ministry notice that appeared in this week’s Gazette.
Stratford resident John Sewell, an environmental consultant who recently launched a blog website to voice his concerns over the highway project, says the ministry’s north bypass alternative – by maintaining existing routes and building far less new roadway – is a step in the right direction.
“Compared to previous plans this saves more farmland and woodland, two most sacred resources, and of course, the jewel of Shakespeare itself,” he adds.
The two routes, along with a range of roadway cross-sections and crossing road treatment alternatives, will be presented to the pubic at the upcoming information centres, scheduled for Wednesday, July 25 at the Shakespeare Optimist Hall, Thursday, July 26 at the Stratford Rotary Complex and Wednesday, Aug. 15 at the Wilmot Recreation Complex in Baden.
All of the meetings run from 5-9 p.m. with planned presentations at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
The submission date for information presented at the meetings is Sept. 28. Comments can be sent to www.7and8corridorstudy.ca.
An update on the corridor study from ministry project manager Charles Organ is also expected to be given at the next Perth County council meeting on Thursday, July 19.