This study followed the approved planning process for Group ‘B’ projects under the MTO Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) for Provincial Transportation Facilities (2000) and the Municipal Class EA (2000, and amended in 2007 and 2011). The Preliminary Design was completed by MTO and the City of London and documented in a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR). The TESR was made available for a 30-day public review period in June 2013 and received clearance for Right of Way Designation and Property Expropriation in August 2013.
The Study Process
The MTO Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for Provincial Transportation Facilities (2000) provides a decision-making process to ensure that all relevant engineering and environmental factors are considered in the planning and design of transportation facilities. Similarly, the Municipal Class EA (2000, and amended in 2007 and 2011) outlines a comprehensive planning process that provides a rational approach that will consider the environmental and technical advantages and disadvantages of design alternatives and their trade-offs in order to determine a preferred alternative.
The Preliminary Design study was undertaken as a Group ‘B’ project under the MTO Class EA, as it included a significant widening of the “footprint” beyond the roadbed of an existing highway and a significant modification in traffic access. It was also classified as a Schedule ‘C’ project under the Municipal Class EA since it included major expansion to an existing facility. The study was documented in the May 2013 Transportation Environmental Study Report.
The Preliminary Design study included public and review agency consultation, an assessment and evaluation of alternatives for the reconfiguration of the interchange and the extension of the parkway, and the identification of the preferred design and measures to mitigate any potential adverse effects.
This project developed the Preliminary Design Plan to the implementation level of detail. Upon completion, a Design and Construction Report (DCR) was be prepared to document the following:
- The major features of the proposed work, including any design refinements
- A full description of the project’s Detailed Design consultation program
- Identification of all project approvals, licenses and permits that have been or must be obtained
- How environmental impacts will be mitigated
- A description of how the commitments made at the end of Preliminary Design, as documented in the TESR are being fulfilled
- Contract specific design and construction information
The DCR was be placed on the Public Record for a review period of 30 calendar days to provide the opportunity for external agencies and for the public to review and comment on the document. As this project has already met the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act, there was no opportunity to request a bump-up to an Individual Environmental Assessment.
Study schedule and consultation process
Who are stakeholders?
Stakeholders are broadly defined as any individual or group that is affected by or is interested in the study. MTO and the City of London are committed to an extensive consultation program, one that actively engages and involves members of the public, non-government organizations (NGOs), municipalities, First Nation Communities, regulatory agencies, business and industry.
What type of environmental work is planned as part of this study?
Environmental specialist work includes: fish and fish habitat; terrestrial resources including an inventory of migratory bird nests, review of vegetation clearing required to facilitate construction, and confirmation of measures to mitigate potential impacts to significant wildlife; groundwater support for the Permit to Take Water (PTTW); an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan; an Excess Materials Management Plan (EMMP); and a Landscape Composition Plan to restore disturbed areas and identify vegetation planting specifications.