Metrolinx stoppage of critical Kerr St. project has Oakville fuming


Published March 2, 2022 at 4:47 pm

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce has written a letter to Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, expressing disappointment regarding the indefinite deferral of the Kerr Street Separation due to increased costs. METROLINX PHOTO

Metrolinx’s decision to halt the Kerr St. underpass has left Oakville fuming and looking for alternative ways to get the critical infrastructure project done.

The Kerr St. grade separation has been indefinitely deferred by Metrolinx after numerous delays led to the public-private partnership (P3) bids coming in significantly higher than expected.

The Town of Oakville was told last week by Metrolinx that costs for the project had risen more than $100 million to $234 million and that Metrolinx had decided to indefinitely defer the project “until construction costs fall.”

The Town is now exploring all options available to source fund and resume the critical project which they believe will create safer streets and improved mobility for the community.

Staff will look to report back to Council with options by the end of May 2022.

“This project is too urgent to go without for safety and congestion reasons,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. “The deferral of the Kerr Street underpass project impacts both the town’s mobility plans and the Provincial Growth Plan requirements to accommodate a growing population close to GO transit connections.

“After years of working together on this project, we are extremely disappointed with Metrolinx’s failure to follow through on their obligation to construct this much needed infrastructure. The town must explore all possible alternatives to continue with this project.”
That means back to the drawing board for the Town on creating an underpass at the Lakeshore West rail crossing on Kerr Street.

The project, which was to be funded equally by Metrolinx and the Town of Oakville, was first initiated in 2016 at an estimated cost of $130 million.

In 2018, Oakville’s share for this project was capped at $65 million (50 per cent) regardless of the final cost.

This would be funded 80 per cent from development charges and 20 per cent from Town reserves. The Town has already spent $6.9 million towards this project.

Key highlights

  • The Kerr Street underpass is a long-pending, central and critical infrastructure enhancement that would ease traffic and significantly improve the movement of people and goods in both the immediate area and other neighbourhoods. Its deferral will impact traffic and there is a cascading effect on development.
  • The Kerr Street Grade Separation project sees the building of an underpass at the Lakeshore West GO Line and is critical to prepare for GO Transit’s increased frequency (15-minute all-day service) by 2025 which would see up to eight trains crossing the Kerr St. location per hour, in addition to regular VIA and freight trains.
  • The grade separation project included adding turn lanes, sidewalks, bike lanes and a second lane in each direction crossing the tracks.
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