A joint initiative between the Town of Oakville, City of Burlington and Metrolinx, the Burloak Drive Grade Separation (i.e. an underpass to separate vehicle and rail movement) would support and help enhance public safety in advance of 2025 when GO Transit’s planned 15-minute all-day service will see up to eight trains crossing Burloak Drive every hour, in addition to regular VIA and freight trains.
In 2016, Oakville and Burlington began working with Metrolinx. Public consultation was held in March 2017, details and the feasibility study can be found on the Metrolinx website.
The project is going ahead. On February 28, 2022 Infrastructure Ontario awarded the procurement contract for the Lakeshore West Infrastructure Improvements Projects, which includes Burloak Drive underpass.
The project cost increased significantly to $177.3 million, Oakville’s share would rise by an additional $29.3 million over and above the $15 million committed in 2018.
This presents an unforeseen financial challenge for the town in order to complete this critical infrastructure enhancement.
On February 28, 2022 Town Council asked staff to explore all options to finalize a new cost sharing arrangement based on the latest project cost. Staff will report back to Council with options by May 2022.
Review the March 2, 2022 news release.
Jill Stephen, Director, Transportation and Engineering, 905-845-6601, ext.3308
Burloak Drive is a boundary road between Oakville and Burlington. The GO Lakeshore West Line crosses this road. Creating a grade separation (i.e. an underpass to separate vehicle and rail movement) at this location is needed to support increased GO services through Burlington and Oakville to ease congestion and enhance safety for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and GO commuters.
The need for a grade separation was identified in 1994 through a joint transportation Environmental Assessment study by the Town of Oakville and the City of Burlington.
It will help enhance public safety by reducing the potential for conflicts between road and rail traffic. In 2025, GO Transit’s planned 15-minute all-day service will see up to eight trains crossing Burloak Drive every hour, in addition to regular VIA and freight trains. This is a critical project for Oakville and Burlington’s mobility.
The grade separation project would see the separation of road and rail traffic through the removal of the level rail crossing. The addition of turn lanes, sidewalks, bike lanes and improved connectivity for active modes of travel will also be included in this project.
In 2016, Oakville and Burlington began working with Metrolinx. The financials were to be finalized in August 2021 to enable project completion in 2026. The town was twice informed of delays in the financial closure and that the anticipated completion date was revised to mid-2027.
In original estimates discussed with Metrolinx since 2016, the project cost was around $60 million.
In spring 2018, Council approved the principles of cost sharing arrangement with Metrolinx for the budget of $60 million. Oakville would cover 25 per cent i.e. $15 million of the cost.Metrolinx issued an RFP based on this budget.
On February 28, 2022, Infrastructure Ontario awarded the procurement contract, and the project is proceeding. However, the cost has risen three fold. Only a few days before a procurement contract was to be awarded, Metrolinx requested that the Town of Oakville and the City of Burlington pay half of the inflated project cost, or close to $45 million each instead of the agreed $15 million each.
The project is proceeding, that is good news. But it presents an unforeseen financial challenge for the town. Town Council has asked staff to explore all options to finalize a new cost sharing arrangement based on the latest project cost. Staff will report back to Council with options by May 2022.
Oakville is concerned about funding the additional share it now has to pay. We would have liked to see more:
Project cost could fluctuate due to many factors. However, Oakville is disappointed that we were not notified of the significant cost increase in a timely manner, so we could have worked collaboratively with Metrolinx to address solutions.Staff continue to seek justification for the exponential increase in project cost.
The original estimate of $15 million would be funded 80 per cent from development charges from developers and 20 per cent by town reserves.
It will severely impact the movement of people and goods in the area, leading to more traffic, potential delays to Oakville Transit service, and traffic conflicts at the level crossing due to increased frequency of trains and motor vehicles.
We know this public safety project is important for our community. Town Council and staff are committed to keeping this project on schedule. Staff is expected to report back by May 2022 on funding options.
Approximately four years. With current timelines, the project is estimated for completion in 2027.
The scope of the project was based on what Oakville and Burlington need to maintain public safety in the area as GO Transit frequency increases in 2025. This is about providing the infrastructure required for the increase in GO Transit service, and improving vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist and GO Transit commuter safety. The procurement contract has already been issued by Metrolinx. Staff will evaluate funding options to ensure the best outcome for our community.
The Town of Oakville remains in a solid financial position. There will be no change to 2022 property taxes as they have already been finalized in December 2021 when Council approved the 2022 Budget. Council and staff will continue to explore funding options available options now and for future budgets to help keep the project on track for completion.
We will examine all options, including if there are other avenues for provincial or federal funding.