The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has retained WSP to undertake a Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) Study for the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) from the north end of the Burlington Skyway to Guelph Line and Highway 403 from QEW to Grindstone Creek, in the City of Burlington. The study area is shown on the key plan.

We encourage you to review the project website and submit your comments. This website will be updated regularly to provide information on events including the Public Information Centres, and availability of project documentation.

The first Public Information Centre (PIC) was held on October 10, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Information presented at the PIC is available under the Consultation/Upcoming Events section.

If you wish to be added to our study mailing list, and submit comments, please visit the Contact Us section of the website.

Objectives of The Study

  • Bridge rehabilitations / widening / replacement;
  • Drainage and illumination improvements;
  • Operational and safety improvements to the QEW and Highway 403, including managed lanes (HOV/HOT);
  • Concept design of a new transitway connection from the future 407 Transitway to Aldershot GO Station; and,
  • A potential carpool lot near the Plains Road / Fairview Street Interchange.

The study will follow the approved environmental planning process for Group “B” projects under the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities (2000) with the opportunity for public input throughout.

We encourage you to review the project website and submit your comments. This website will be updated regularly to provide information on events including the Public Information Centres, and availability of project documentation.

If you wish to be added to our study mailing list, and submit comments, please visit the Contact Us section of the website.

Study Overview

The study area includes approximately 7.2 km of QEW, from east of Guelph line to the Burlington Bay Skyway, including four arterial interchanges: Guelph Line, Brant Street, Plains Road/Fairview Street, and North Shore Boulevard East. The study area also includes approximately 5.3 km of Highway 403 from the Freeman Interchange to Grindstone Creek, including the Waterdown Road interchange. The central feature of the study area is the Freeman Interchange itself, which connects the QEW, Highway 403 and 407 ETR. The QEW and Highway 403 are combined on the east (Toronto-bound) leg of the interchange. Constructed in the 1980s and 1990s, the interchange is large and complex. The Highway 407 ETR leg was added in the 1990s and opened to motorists in 2001.

The Freeman Interchange is a vital connection in the provincial highway network, connecting the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on the north side of Lake Ontario with the Niagara Peninsula and eastern United States on the south side of the lake. To the west, Highway 403 connects with Hamilton and points west, ultimately providing access to the United States via Michigan. The interchange and its connecting freeways currently experience high traffic volumes and congestion; given the high importance of the interchange and the QEW and Highway 403 corridors, improvements to the interchange will benefit the travelling public, the province, and Canada as a whole.

The study requirements are to prepare the Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment (EA) for improvements to QEW and Highway 403 through the Freeman Interchange, the rehabilitation/widening/replacement of bridges in the study area, drainage improvements, illumination improvements, and other related improvements in the study area. The work also includes preparing a concept design for a transitway connecting the future 407 transitway with Aldershot GO Station, and a new carpool lot near the Plains/Fairview Interchange.

Class Environmental Assessment

This Preliminary Design and Class EA Study will follow the approved environmental planning process for Group “B” projects under the Class Environmental Assessment for Provincial Transportation Facilities (2000).

The study will include two rounds of Public Information Centres (PICs). The purpose of the PICs is to provide opportunities for two-way communication about the existing conditions, generation of alternatives and next steps (PIC # 1); and at PIC # 2 the evaluation of the alternatives and the selection of the technically preferred alternative will be presented. Notices providing the time and location of the PICs will be published in local newspapers (Hamilton Spectator and Burlington Post), mailed to stakeholders on the study mailing list, and posted on this website.

Upon completion of the study, a Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) will be prepared to document the existing conditions, study process and consultation conducted. The TESR will be made available for a public review, and a copy will be posted on the Study Documents section of this website.

Please click on the image to enlarge

The project was initiated in Spring 2017 and study completion is anticipated in Winter 2019. The study schedule, which is subject to change is illustrated below.

Please click on the image to enlarge

Consultation/Upcoming Events

Consultation is an important part of the Class Environmental Assessment process. Consultation provides opportunities for two-way communication between the Project Team and interested stakeholders and enables the identification of potentially significant matters early in the decision-making process.

We feel that effective engagement goes beyond the application of tools, but starts with a thoughtful approach that is tailored to this project and its context. Our engagement and consultation program includes a variety of traditional and innovative techniques to increase stakeholder awareness and participation, as outlined below.


Throughout the study, a variety of notification methods (i.e., newspaper advertisements, mail delivery, and this website) will be used to notify interested stakeholders about the study at key project milestones, including commencement, the Public Information Centres (PICs) and the availability of the Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) for the 30-day public review.

Newspaper notices will be published in the following local newspapers:

  • Hamilton Spectator
  • Burlington Post

The Notice of Study Commencement was issued in April 2017.

The Notice of Public Information Centre #1 was sent in September 2017.

Pop-up Event Booth

To raise awareness about the project / upcoming consultation events, and to receive input about the alternative solutions, members of the Project Team will have a pop-up style booth at local community events. The purpose is to engage the community in-place and to capture a segment of the population that may not have otherwise participated in the project. Our booth was at the Burlington Mall Farmer’s Market located at Prospect Street and Guelph Line on Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

Public Information Centres

Opportunities for consultation will be provided at key project milestones. The Project Team along with MTO Staff will host two public open houses. It is anticipated that the format of the open houses will include:

  1. Open review of posters and presentation boards that describe the existing conditions, alternatives / evaluation, recommended solution, mitigation measures and next steps.
  2. Invitation for attendees to participate via marking up maps to enhance the Project Team’s existing knowledge of the existing conditions. This can be done using post-it notes, and dots that correlate to a specific comment sheet.
  3. The Study Team will be available to answer questions as attendees complete the interactive components and review of the presentation boards.

The first Public Information Centre (PIC) was held on October 10, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre. The PIC provided external agencies, interested stakeholders, Indigenous Communities, and members of the community with an opportunity to review the study process, existing conditions, need and justification, generation of preliminary alternatives, the evaluation criteria which will be used to assess the alternatives, and next steps in the study.

The first PIC was held as a drop-in style, open house format as follows:

Date: October 10 2017
Location: Holiday Inn Burlington Hotel & Conference Centre

Harvester Room

3063 South Service Road

Burlington, ON

Time: 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Details from the PIC are posted below. Please review the display boards presented at the PIC and provide any comments or suggestions you may have to the Project Team using the comment form here:

Display Panels

PIC No. 1 Display Boards Part 1

PIC No. 1 Display Boards Part 2

PIC No. 1 Display Boards (Complete)

The second public open house will be held later in the project and will represent an opportunity to present the recommended solution and ask the community, “Did we get it right?” Input will be sought on the selection of the preferred Preliminary Design Alternative, which includes the evaluation of environmental impacts and proposed mitigation.

To contact the Project Team directly with comments or to request to be added to the study mailing list, please visit the Contact Us page of this website.


Reports will be posted once they are available.


How will the public be involved during the study?

There are a number of ways the public can get involved. These include:

  • Contact the Project Team directly. Visit the “Contact Us” page on this website for more details.
  • Attend the Public Information Centres. Two (2) Public Information Centres will be held at key milestones to engage the public, and provide an opportunity for two-way communication with the Project Team.
  • Visit our pop-up booth that will be set up twice at the Burlington Farmer’s Market.
  • Visit this project website. The Project Website will be updated regularly to provide information on events including the Public Information Centres, and availability of project documentation.

Review the Transportation Environmental Study Report (TESR) during the 30-day public review period and provide your comments. The TESR will be released at the end of the study, following the two Public Information Centres.

How with the public be notified of the study and key project milestones?

We will use the following methods to notify the public of key project milestones:

  • Letters and notices will be sent to contacts on the project mailing list to solicit comments and suggestions.
  • Newspaper notices will be published in the Hamilton Spectator and Burlington Post.
  • Notices will be posted on the “Consultation” page of this website.

I would like to join the project mailing list. How do I sign up?

Visit the “Contact Us” page of the project website to fill out a comment form or email the Project Team at project-team@qew403freeman.ca.

What is a Preliminary Design Study?

A project typically goes through several study phases before it is tendered for construction. The phases are: Planning, Preliminary Design, and Detail Design. Each phase involves an increasing level of detail as the study progresses.

Preliminary Design is a broader study with an end goal of selecting a preferred alternative to address the problem / opportunity. A list of alternatives are generated that would address study objectives. The alternatives are evaluated using a set of criteria along with stakeholder engagement to determine the preferred alternative. Preliminary drawings are developed for the preferred alternative at this stage.

How will the preferred alternative / preferred plan be selected? Do I have a say?

To ensure there is reasonable and adequate justification to proceed with the improvements and that the need for the study is clearly demonstrated, the MTO Class EA process requires that Planning Alternatives be considered. Planning Alternatives are assessed against a set of evaluation criteria such as: ability to reasonably address the identified transportation needs and opportunities, and potential impacts to the natural, socio-economic and cultural environment. The assessment is completed in conjunction with public input.

The evaluation criteria will be presented at PIC #1 while the preferred alternative will be presented at PIC #2. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the PICs, and submit comments to the Project Team about the Planning Alternatives and evaluation criteria.

What is the purpose of this study?

The purpose of the study is to consider improvements to Highway 403 and the QEW, such as:

  • Highway widening for additional lanes, which may include High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) / High Occupancy Toll (HOT) and/or general-purpose lanes in the study area;
  • A new transitway connection from Aldershot GO Station to the future 407 Transitway;
  • A new carpool lot near the Plains/Fairview Interchange; and
  • Operational (e.g. drainage, illumination), and structural improvements.

Will new illumination be implemented?

Existing illumination within the study limits will be documented and reviewed to determine the need for improvements.

Will active transportation be considered as part of this study?

Cycling and pedestrians are not permitted on controlled access highways, such as the QEW or Highway 403, although the Project Team is aware of the existing sidewalks, bike lanes and multi-use trails along municipal roads that cross under / over the QEW and Highway 403.  The Project Team is working closely with the City of Burlington and the Regional Municipality of Halton to ensure that municipal Active Transportation Master Plans are considered in the overall transportation improvement strategy.

Is the Ministry considering improvements to the Burlington Bay Skyway?

The Burlington Bay Skyway is outside the study area and is not part of this study.

Will there be any impacts to the natural environment?

Detailed terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem assessments will be carried out as part of this study. Where impacts cannot be avoided, mitigation will be developed in consultation with appropriate external agencies.

Will there be an increase to noise to homeowners and businesses adjacent to the QEW / Highway 403 as a result of the proposed works? Will a noise study be conducted?

A noise assessment will be undertaken to determine noise impacts in the study area associated with the preferred alternative. This will include identifying noise sensitive areas within and adjacent to the study area, completing noise modelling, and where appropriate, noise mitigation measures will be proposed.

Will there be property impacts?

Impacts to property and property requirements will be assessed as the study progresses.

When will construction start and how long will it take?

Construction timing is dependent on the completion of the Class Environmental Assessment, Preliminary and Detail Design Studies, environmental approvals and the availability of project funding.

Is a traffic study being completed as part of the this study? When will I know the results?

A traffic study will be completed as part of this study, including traffic modelling. The traffic study will be used to assess alternatives, and the results will be presented at future consultation events.

How will construction affect traffic operations?

Construction staging and its impact on traffic will be considered as part of the evaluation of alternatives. A preliminary construction staging plan will be prepared once the preferred alternative is selected. Detailed construction staging and traffic management plans will be developed as part of the future Detail Design Study.

Contact Us

If you wish to obtain additional information or provide comments, or if you would like to be added to the mailing list, please contact:

Mr. Cameron Bevers
Project Manager
Ministry of Transportation – Central Region
159 Sir William Hearst Avenue
4th Floor, Building D
Toronto, ON M3M 0B7
Phone: (416) 235-3435
E-mail: project-team@qew403freeman.ca
Mr. Michael Chiu, P.Eng.
Consultant Project Manager
610 Chartwell Road, Suite 300
Oakville, ON L6J 4A5
Phone: (905) 823-8500
Toll Free: 1-877-562-7947
Fax: (905) 823-8503
E-mail: project-team@qew403freeman.ca

Your input is important. If you would like to send your comments to the Project Team or have your name added to our contact list, please complete the form below and click submit.

Security Code:
security code
Please enter the security code:


Protection of Privacy

Information will be collected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. With the exception of personal information, all comments will become part of the public record.


If you have any accessibility requirements in order to participate in this project please contact one of the Project Team members listed above.


If you are a member of the media and have questions or would like information about the MTO Freeman Interchange Preliminary Design and Class Environmental Assessment Study, please contact:

Astrid Poei
Communications Coordinator
2nd Floor, Building D
159 Sir William Hearst
Toronto, ON M3M 0B7
Phone: 416-235-5340
Email: astrid.poei@ontario.ca