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 which would see up to eight trains crossing the Kerr St. location per hour, in addition to regular VIA and freight trains.
Following the Environmental Study Report released in 2009, an open house was held in 2018, and an online Public Information Centre presentation (pdf) was held during September 12-27, 2019. To review these background reports, presentations and feedback on the preferred streetscape elements, scroll down to the Background section on this page.
On February 24, 2022, the town learned that the project cost was significantly higher than estimated and Metrolinx has indefinitely deferred the underpass project. As this is a critical project to create safer streets and improved mobility for our community, Council remains committed to exploring all options available to source funding and resume the project. Review the March 2, 2022 news release.
On June 7, 2022 Council received up an update report regarding options to re-start the project, noting that staff continue to work collaboratively with Metrolinx to establish a solution that will reduce project costs, reducing the length of time required for construction and addressing the planned and potential development and growth in the Kerr Street growth node. Review the Kerr Street Grade Separation Update staff report (item #7.4) included in the June 7, 2022 Planning and Development Council meeting agenda. Further updates on the project will be provided to Council and community as discussions progress.
The Kerr Street Grade Separation Project sees the building of an underpass at the Lakeshore West GO Line to improve safety and ease traffic congestion.
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’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 a second lane in each direction crossing the tracks will also be included in this project.
The Environmental Assessment was completed in 2009 and design began in 2012. The final completion of project was anticipated for 2027.
In 2016, the project was estimated at $130 million. It is a joint initiative funded equally by Infrastructure Ontario and the town. In 2018, the town’s share was capped at $65 million regardless of the final cost. Financial close was originally expected to occur in 2018, but was delayed multiple times by Metrolinx.
On February 24, 2022, just prior to the February 28, 2022 financial closure date, staff were given the first indication by Metrolinx that the Kerr Grade Separation project was being deferred indefinitely and that project cost was now $234 million, significantly over the $130 million estimated budget. Review the March 2, 2022 news release for more information.
Staff continue to work collaboratively with Metrolinx to find a way to restart the Kerr Street Grade Separation project and deliver this critical mobility project. Updates will be provided to Council and the community as these discussions progress.
Based on the initial $130 million estimate, the town’s 50 per cent share of the project i.e. $65 million would be funded 80 per cent from development charges from developers and 20 per cent from town reserves. Discussions are ongoing regarding the cost of the project for the town and way forward to restart the project.
Oakville is extremely disappointed with the deferral of this project. Not only has the cost risen significantly, but Oakville was not informed of this earlier in the process.The town is now assessing funding options to bring back this project. We would have liked to see more:
Project cost could fluctuate due to many factors such inflation, cost of construction, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Metrolinx had decided to indefinitely defer the project "until construction costs fall." 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 as this is an important infrastructure project.
So far, the town has spent $6.9 million.
It will not only impact the town’s mobility plans, but also the Provincial Growth Plan to accommodate a growing population close to GO transit connections.
We know this public safety project is important for our community. Town Council and staff are going to assess the situation to determine next steps on explore how to all options possible to minimize this unfair burden on our taxpayers. Staff provided an update to Council on June 7, 2022, noting that discussions with Metrolinx are focused on options to establish a solution that will reduce project costs, reducing the length of time required for construction and addressing the planned and potential development and growth in the Kerr Street growth node.
The scope of the project was based on what Oakville needs to maintain public safety in the area as GO Transit frequency increases in 2025. This is about improving vehicle, pedestrian and cyclist and GO Transit commuter safety.
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 all available options now and future budgets to determine the future of the project.
We will examine all options, including if there are other avenues for provincial or federal funding.
Appendix A - Minutes and Correspondence (pdf)
Appendix B - Public Consultation (pdf)
Appendix C - Natural Environment Review (pdf)
Appendix D - Noise Analysis (pdf)
Appendix E - Geotechnical Report (pdf)
Appendix F - Built Heritage Review (pdf)
Appendix G - Archaeology Review (pdf)
Jill Stephen, Director
Transportation and Engineering