The estimated cost of $5 million to build a new west-bound ramp from Mohawk Road to Highway 403 has decreased.
David Sinke, project manager of AMEC Environment and Infrastructure, told members of the Ancaster Community Council last week the original cost has been “significantly” reduced because the city has cut back on various contingency plans for the project.
“There will be no major structure work needed,” said Sinke. “It will be less than $5 million.”
He couldn’t say what the proposed cost will be, but Hamilton city staff had estimated the on-ramp construction could be between $3 million to $6.5 million. The cost included the half-million dollars the city and provincial transportation ministry are paying for an environmental assessment and other needed studies, such as modeling, design and risk analysis.
Sinke said the final draft study for the project will be completed by this September.
The Mohawk Road on-ramp proposal emerged in 2011 as the preferred option among suggested locations, including Golf Links Road. A westbound ramp from Mohawk to Highway 403 did exist prior to 2001, but was eliminated when the 403 and Lincoln Alexander Parkway interchange was reconstructed.The ministry and city representatives held a public information meeting last month to gauge residents’ interest in the proposed project. While there seemed to be general agreement among Ancaster residents a west-bound on-ramp for Highway 403 is needed to benefit the downtown, some homeowners, particularly those living along Mohawk Road, were opposed to the idea because it would increase traffic. Residents were also concerned about the rising volume of cut-through traffic within residential areas.
Another public information meeting has been scheduled for June 12. City officials said further studies will be provided to residents at the open house, including an air quality study that is in the final stages of being drafted.
Proposed traffic studies for Mohawk Road indicate, the increase in vehicle volume will be “low,” said Sinke.
And overall, the new on-ramp will have limited impact on traffic along Wilson Street and McNiven Road, he said..
It’s estimated there will be an extra 300 vehicles per day on Rousseau and Mohawk travelling to the on-ramp. The road accommodates about 1,200 vehicles per day now.
“It’s about a two per cent increase in traffic,” said Sinke.
City officials have been holding discussions with ministry staff about the project, with a final meeting set for May, said Sinke.
Construction of the on-ramp could begin in 2015, but the city hasn’t yet budgeted funds for the project. It will be up to the city and province to determine the funding options and what share each will pay.
Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, who has made building an on-ramp one of his re-election priorities, said local taxpayers won’t pay for the entire project. He said once the design is ready, it will become a political battle to get the on-ramp funded properly.
“I will not get the city to pay 100 per cent,” he said.