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Barrhaven residents hope new promised interchange can ease traffic woes

Barrhaven residents are relieved that the provincial government is promising to fund a new highway interchange at the 416 and Barnsdale Road.

“In the past few years, the last dozen years, traffic has been extraordinarily painful,” says Muhamed Karkari, chair of the Half Moon Bay Community Association. “We’ve had pinpoints all across the entire community. And the fact of the matter is that getting in and out of our community is getting worse and worse every month, not just every year, every month.”

Karkari says a source of traffic is not enough access points to Highway 416, forcing many to drive through the community, blocking roads. He calls the interchange announcement “critical.” He says, “We have been fighting for this for years and years. Always holding on hope that this would happen. And we are elated that the province has finally agreed to make this happen. So this is something that’s essential for not just our community here, it’s essential for the whole city.”

Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy made the announcement during his delivery of the Ford Government’s budget at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, stating this would help support “support South Ottawa’s growing population and jobs.”

Lisa MacLeod is the MPP for the area, and says there will be many benefits to the new interchange. “It’s so important that we’re getting a Barnsdale Road exit onto the 416 for a variety of reasons. One is we have been dealing with enormous growth both in our residential but also commercial sectors in the community. It will be convenient for my constituents.”

MacLeod says, “I think just as importantly, it’s going to be a good economic driver. We are the gateway between Kanata and Kemptville and into the downtown core of the city when you’re on the 416. So I think you’re going to be able to move goods and people much more quickly.”

MacLeod is referring the new Amazon distribution centre, as well as the many homes being built in the area.

The timeline or cost is still not clear on the new interchange, but MacLeod says the city and the province will work together on construction and design, and the environmental assessment is already underway.

Area councilor David Hill says this interchange is long-awaited and can’t come soon enough.

“I was ecstatic. This is a huge infrastructure investment in the community,” Hill says. “It’s been it’s been needed for a long time. And certainly one of the top issues that that many of the leaders here in the community have been fighting for several years.”

Hill says about 3,500 residents or about 1,500 households move to the community a year.

“It needs to be balanced with the infrastructure investments as well as the residential. And I know certainly a lot of the folks that I speak to out here in the community when we talk about new developments, their biggest frustration is that the infrastructure is not keeping pace with the rate of residential development,” he said. “And so this is going to be a really important investment in the community for access for the residents, but also for our economic growth.”

Right now, Barrhaven residents can only access the 416 from Bankfield Road or Fallowfield Road; the new Barnsdale interchange would be in the middle, easing congestion.

Commuters like Mariella Dibello say traffic is only getting worse in the area. “It’s pretty bad. Not a lot of streets to feed all these houses. I’ve lived in Barrhaven, actually, my whole life, so it’s really getting bad.”

Dibello says the interchange will make a big difference “It’s a lot of traffic. It’ll definitely help a lot. I can’t wait.”

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