Veterans Memorial Parkway Extension and Highway 401 Interchange Improvements
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and the City of London have selected Dufferin Construction Company to design and construct improvements to the interchange at Highway 401 and Veterans Memorial Parkway (VMP) in the City of London. The MTO and City project team is responsible for the development, administration and oversight of the design-build contract. A design-build contracting approach merges the traditionally separated detail design and construction projects into one contract performed by a single design-builder entity (i.e., Dufferin Construction Company).
This project was approved to proceed by a City of London council resolution dated April 5, 2011 in order to prepare for future development opportunities in the area. A Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment study was completed by MTO and the City of London in 2013. The project supports the City of London’s economic growth objectives, including future growth in southeast London, as identified in the City’s Industrial Lands Development Strategy Update. The project also implements recommendations of the Smart Moves Transportation Master Plan by providing additional capacity and improving traffic operations.
Highway 401 is an essential part of the freeway network connecting the Greater Toronto Area with southwestern Ontario and the USA, linking major urban areas and providing a corridor for international trade and economic development. The existing Veterans Memorial Parkway (VMP) is a four-lane divided expressway that connects to Highway 401 via a partial interchange and provides access north of Highway 401 into the City of London. There is currently no VMP to the south of Highway 401.
This design-build project includes the detailed design and construction of a reconfigured interchange at Highway 401 and VMP, and road extension of VMP to the south. Major project features include:
- Extension of the VMP southerly by approximately 800 m from Highway 401 to form a new intersection with Wilton Grove Road and associated modifications (i.e., widening of Wilton Grove Road, installation of turning lanes) required to accommodate the new intersection
- Reconfiguration of the existing partial Highway 401/VMP interchange to a full interchange including ramp realignments and installation of new ramps to connect Highway 401 to the northbound and new southbound VMP
- Widening of a portion of the existing Highway 401 westbound auxiliary lane to provide a speed change lane for the new south to west on-ramp
- Modification of the existing speed change lanes to accommodate the ramp re-alignments associated with the interchange reconfiguration
- Minor realignment of the existing VMP north of the interchange to accommodate the interchange reconfiguration
- Replacement of the VMP bridge over Highway 401 on its current alignment
- Drainage improvements , illumination, overhead signs, traffic signals and retaining walls
- Realignment of the Crinklaw Municipal Drain and installation of a new structural culvert to cross under the new VMP south of Highway 401 and provide opportunities for wildlife crossing
The proposed construction staging and traffic management strategy for the construction of the new bridge is anticipated to require the temporary closure of VMP at Highway 401, including the eastbound ramps for several months during construction. Vehicle and pedestrian access across Highway 401 will not be available during construction.
Road closures during construction
Construction of the new VMP interchange will occur over three construction seasons, from September of 2016 to July of 2018. The interchange ramps connecting to Highway 401 eastbound lanes will be closed for an extended duration (180 days) following removal of the existing bridge. The ramps connecting to the Highway 401 westbound lanes will be closed for long duration. Short-duration, full closures of Highway 401 (multiple occasions), will have a formal detour route. Following consultation with the City of London, Middlesex County and EMS, the detour route will follow Highbury Avenue and Westchester Bourne (north-south), and Bradley Avenue (east-west). Key intersections may require police presence to maintain traffic operational effectiveness. For more detailed information please refer to Section 3.8 of the Design and Construction Report.
During construction the website will be updated to provide information related to traffic restrictions, detour routes, and construction progress.
The detailed design study has been initiated. The project schedule will be updated as it progresses through the design and construction phases. The following key milestones are identified:
Notification of Detailed Design Commencement and Public Information Centre
Confirmation of Recommended Plan, construction staging, and traffic management plan
30-day comment period following Public Information Centre
Eligibility for environmental clearance for utility relocation
Design and Construction Report public review period
Eligibility for environmental clearance for construction
- Construction Start September 2016
What is the purpose of this project?
The primary purpose is to design and construct interchange improvements at Highway 401 and Veterans Memorial Parkway (VMP), and extension of VMP from Highway 401 southerly to Wilton Grove Road to improve access into the City of London and support long-term economic growth and development in the area. The study will develop the design to the implementation level of detail and will confirm the recommended construction staging and traffic management strategy to be implemented during construction.
How will I access my property or business during construction?
Access to businesses will be maintained. However, construction of the new bridge is anticipated to require the temporary closure of VMP at Highway 401, including the eastbound ramps for several months during construction. Vehicle and pedestrian access across Highway 401 will not be available during this time.
Why doesn’t the scope of work include expansion (i.e., widening) of Highway 401?
The purpose of this project is to improve access into the City of London and promote long term economic growth in the area. The proposed improvements will accommodate an eight-lane highway cross-section of Highway 401 in the future. Based on current and projected traffic volumes; widening of Highway 401 in this area is not warranted at this time.