Niagara Escarpment Crossing Comprehensive Environmental Assessment - Terms of Reference
All Niagara Region projects

About the project

Niagara Region is undertaking the Niagara Escarpment Crossing Comprehensive Environmental Assessment (previously known as an Individual Environmental Assessment). The study aims to improve the capacity for goods movement and redirect truck traffic away from residential areas in west Niagara. The assessment will look at a range of options to demonstrate the need for a new crossing of the escarpment.

A north-south transportation crossing of the Niagara Escarpment may have the potential to:

  • Accommodate commercial vehicles and other modes of transportation
  • Increase safety for local communities and efficiency for commercial vehicle operations
  • Help serve higher transportation system capacity, redundancy and resiliency
  • Keep Niagara open for business with the effective movement of goods and people

The proposed transportation crossing study area includes Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln. Since the start of the project, the study area has expanded to consider all options and assess impacts.

Useful information

  • Why a new escarpment crossing is necessary

    This project will consider a new north-south link between the Queen Elizabeth Way and Highway 20 that would be more suitable for truck traffic than the existing crossings of the escarpment. A current example of this is Mountain Road (Regional Road 12) in Grimsby and Mountain Street (Regional Road 18) in Lincoln.

    The existing crossings are not well suited for truck traffic. This is due to steep grades, limited room for turning and how close they are to residential neighbourhoods.

    The solutions considered during the project will also consider improving road conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • Why this study is being done and looking beyond the Bartlett Avenue and Park Road route option

    A study found an extension of Bartlett Avenue and Park Road to be the preferred corridor for the crossing. This preferred route was reported to Council in 2016. It was also part of the Region's Transportation Master Plan in 2017.

    However, staff later decided a higher level of the planning process was needed. This process will show whether other options might better address safety, vehicle movement needs and environmental impacts. For this reason, the previous studies were not completed or filed with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.

    To address these concerns, a Comprehensive Environmental Assessment has been initiated. This new initiative will independently assess and show the need for a new crossing and whether other solutions are feasible.

    To achieve necessary approvals, the assessment must conduct a thorough study that considers impacts to surrounding areas when deciding the best outcome.

  • The Comprehensive Environmental Assessment process

    This study is being done under the Environmental Assessment Act as a Comprehensive Environmental Assessment (previously known as an Individual Environmental Assessment).

    A Comprehensive Environmental Assessment is different than a Schedule B or C Municipal Class Environmental Assessment. It is most often used for large projects with significant environmental impacts. A Comprehensive Environmental Assessment is done when a greater level of consultation is needed.

    A Comprehensive Environmental Assessment is a two-step approval process:

    • The first step is to prepare a Terms of Reference (Phase 1) that outlines how the future Environmental Assessment will be conducted
    • The second step is the Environmental Assessment (Phase 2) after the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks approves the Terms of Reference
  • Consultations while developing the Terms of Reference

    During a Comprehensive Environmental Assessment process, interested parties have input into the Terms of Reference (Phase 1) before the full Environmental Assessment starts (Phase 2).

    Niagara Region has been consulting with interested parties such as Indigenous communities, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, provincial ministries and local municipal staff about the Terms of Reference development.

    Upcoming consultation includes a presentation to Regional Public Works Committee, Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln Council meetings and a Public Information Centre open to all interested parties. The Public Information Centre will be held on May 29, 2024.

    Starting on May 30, 2024, all interested parties including the public can review and comment on the draft Terms of Reference.

Project timeline

Spring 2023 - Completed
Start project and issue notice of commencement

Spring / fall 2023 - Completed
Start engagement with Indigenous communities and agencies

Winter 2023 / 2024 - Completed
Draft Terms of Reference

May 7, 2024 - Completed
Project update presentation to Regional Public Works Committee

May 15, 2024 - Completed
Project update presentation to Lincoln Council

May 21, 2024 - Completed
Project update presentation to Grimsby Council

May 27, 2024 - completed
Project update presentation to West Lincoln Council

May 29, 2024 - completed
Public Information Centre

May 30 to July 12, 2024
Draft Terms of Reference open for review period

Summer 2024
Add comments and submit the proposed Terms of Reference to the Minister of Environment, Conservation and Parks

Fall 2024 / early 2025
Expected minister approval of Terms of Reference and issue request for proposals for the Environmental Assessment

Contact

Maged Elmadhoon, M.Eng., P.Eng.
Niagara Region
Manager, Transportation Planning
905-980-6000 ext. 3583
Email the project team

Katherine Jim, M.Eng., P.Eng.
CIMA+ Canada Inc.
Senior Planner / Senior Project Manager
289-288-0287 ext. 6835

Stay Informed

Public participation and constructive engagement are a big part of the decision-making process. We welcome all questions and comments.

Email the project team to be added to the project contact list and receive project updates and notices directly.

Image Gallery


Escarpment crossing map
This map shows the proposed transportation crossing study area in Grimsby, Lincoln and West Lincoln.
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