York Region getting ready to build Highway 7 rapidway,
starting March 21

York Region is getting ready to build parts of a new rapidway — bus-only lanes along the centre of the roadway — along Highway 7 in Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan.

Next week, workers get busy on two different phases of the project.

Starting tomorrow, Monday, March 21, crews will be removing and relocating trees to prepare the area for widening the roadway to accommodate the future busway.

Workers are removing about 100 trees between Bayview and Highway 404 from Monday, March 21 until Thursday, March 31. They’ll remove another 400 between Highway 404 and Warden Avenue after Friday, April 1. They’ll replant about 50 of the trees in other sites nearby. Workers will place barricades around any trees that they’re not removing and that stand near construction activity.

This part of the project will have little effect on transit services. Occasionally, workers will close traffic lanes during off-peak hours when they’re removing the trees.

At the end of the project, this part of Highway 7 will have attractive, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, with extensive landscaping that includes many deciduous trees, shrubs, ground cover, ornamental grasses and perennial flowers. In fact both sides of the roadway will contain about 85 percent more trees than it does now.

Also tomorrow, Monday, March 21, PowerStream Inc. workers continue removing old, and installing new, hydro poles on both sides of Highway 7 between Allstate Parkway and Woodbine Avenue to prepare the roadway for widening. Starting Friday, April 1, they’ll start work on the poles between Woodbine Avenue and South Town Centre Boulevard. They expect to complete all work in June.

The work will be done in stages.

  • First, crews will deliver and distribute new poles along the roadway;
  • then, they’ll dig holes for the new poles;
  • then, they place the new poles into the holes and stabilize them;
  • then, they’ll transfer the power lines to the new poles; and then
  • finally, they’ll remove the old poles and backfill the old holes.

From time to time, workers may have to close some traffic lanes, slowing regular traffic and transit services. However, the work should not disrupt hydro service.

You can learn more about the Highway 7 rapidway project here.