Third 401 Interchange Planned

With the development at the north end of Brook road now moving ahead, also moving forward is planning for a third interchange with the 401 at Nagle Road. Currently, Nagle Road has a bridge over the highway but no access to the 401. Starting in 2017, MTO started the process to plan upgrading the 401 to 6 and ultimately 8 lanes from Cobourg to Colborne (more in Resources below). This will involve rehabilitating or more likely replacing seven bridges; the process starts with an Environmental Assessment (EA) which looks at natural, social, economic and cultural issues and includes public consultation. The Nagle Road Interchange is a separate project and is a Town initiative but will also require an EA, so to save money, Cobourg elected to piggy-back the required EA on the 401 expansion project EA.

The two EAs started in 2019 and a Public meeting was held (see Cobourg News Blog report in Resources below) but progress was interrupted by the pandemic. At Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting, Council approved payment to the EA contractor to continue (costing $114K) – a second public meeting is expected but will now likely be after the Provincial Election.

Funding for the EA and design and construction of the Interchange will be the responsibility of Cobourg – 75% of this will come from Development charges.

Cobourg East - Simplified Map
Cobourg East – Simplified Map

At right is a simplified map of the Secondary Plan area (original at the Town’s web site).

What is an Environmental Assessment?

This is how the Town describes it:

An Environmental Assessment’s purpose is to consider all options for a project and consider all impacts to the surrounding area of the project including social, economic, technical, environmental and cultural impacts.

Since an EA is typically conducted at a high level of analysis, they often result in recommendations for further studies more specific to the preferred alternative solution. In the case of Nagle Road, the Stage 1 archaeological assessment resulted in a recommendation for a Stage 2 assessment. Due to the proximity to a water course and the subject area has not had any historical disturbance in the past, there is a higher probability that archaeological resources may exist. A Stage 2 archaeological assessment involves a detailed subsurface investigation of the entire area of the proposed interchange to search for the presence of cultural features. If there is evidence discovered, a Stage 3 archaeological assessment will be required. If no evidence is discovered, the EA will conclude with a final public meeting.

Another study that is included in the subject scope of work is a noise study that will analyze the potential changes in traffic noise associated with the conversion of an overpass at Nagle Road to the proposed interchange configuration.

A second and final Public Information Centre will also be conducted to share the results of these studies and present the recommended interchange configuration.

The motion passed by Council was to authorize completion of the Nagle Road Interchange Environmental Assessment and payment of $113,568.50 to Stantec Consulting Ltd. Councillor Emily Chorley asked if Stantec was selected based on Cobourg’s tender process; Director Laurie Wills replied that Stantec had been selected by MTO as the contractor.

Cobourg had previously paid Stantec $299,175 for stage one of the EA.

In response to a question from me about timing, Manager of Engineering Terry Hoekstra responded that “growth within Cobourg East Community will determine the need for the interchange in the future.” When that time comes, the EA will have been completed so delays will be minimal.


Cobourg News Blog Links

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Pete M
4 April 2022 7:43 am

This article describes Cobourg to a tee, as to what needs to happen for densification of housing and why it won’t happen.

We have a large portion of the community who say I support densification-until someone says I would like to remove some homes in an area, south of University Ave and build a multi unit building

Then watch the opposition come out. As in the article, those in opposition here begin with the rallying cry-” it will destroy the character of the neighbour. My Property values will decline. ” And the heaven forbid it they try to build anything over 3 storeys- it will ruin to the view

Then in the same breath they complain of high taxes and wonder why the downtown struggles.

One of the premises of densification is by having more people in a smaller footprint helps to reduce cost for services. More people in the downtown (south of University) creates a more walkable community who, hopefully would walk and shop the downtown

2 April 2022 7:38 pm

If you look at the first listed external link, Nagle Road Interchange, it (Page 4) shows a brand new major road between the proposed new interchange and Brook Rd North further down. This is not a flat area at the top end but the side of a steep hill outside of the East development area! Further down it seems to travel through a floodplain. Anyone know the timing for this build out and who pays? Will this major new road be a County Rd.?

Pete M
Reply to  MiriamM
3 April 2022 9:36 am

The route proposed would see Nagle Rd continue south iver Danforth Rd. This area is flat with a gentle southern slope- same as greer rd from danforth to elgin st e. This nagle extension will almost parallel Greer Rd. Then it will cross over Elgin St just a bit west of the current intersection if Greer Rd and Elgin.
This will create a safer intersection than the current Greer Rd/ Elgin St Intersection.
It will then follow a south westerly path beside or thru the Hees Property to connect up with Brook Rd. Where Brook Rd starts climbing just north of the old winchester factory.
Road will not be in a flood plain.
I would suggest anyone not familiar with area to take a drive and check route for themself.
There will be a need to purchase or expropriate land on south side of Elgin and east side of Brook unless already owned by developer.
Does anyone know who owns the Hees property at Brook and Elgin??

Reply to  Pete M
3 April 2022 11:34 am

We are dating ourselves! I recall when it was the Hees property, later purchased by others and I do not know who owns the lands now. The corner field (SE) at Elgin was a farm field with horses often grazing. Now a growing thick woodlot. I appreciate your details of the proposed route.

Pete M
2 April 2022 10:57 am

All discussion is centered around Cobourg and the impact it will have in Cobourg. Last time I checked Nagle ran in the northside of the 401 (Hamilton Twp.) all the way to Baltimore.
I would like to hear their thoughts. Do they see this as a quicker access to 401 to go east. Will this impact negatively or positively on growth in Baltimore.
Has anyone considered that the MTO supports given the increased volumes on the 401 and the increased numbers of collisions and 401 closures between Cty Rd 45 and Lyle St. grafton.
This exit becomes a sort of relief valve. Easier timely access to 401 for emergency responders.
Reduction of east bound traffic on Cobourg Streets during 401 closures.

I know I will hear it from the anti car people, but face it the car/truck is here to stay whether in ICE form or EV form.

1 April 2022 12:00 pm

It would be shorter and cheaper to grade a road with no more than a 7.5 degree incline down from Nagle to Workman. The precedent of a bridge over the creek is already there. No bottlenecks and it leverages the existing bridge over the train tracks.

Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 11:51 am

The prospect of a 401/Nagle Road interchange raises a number of critical issues relative to the past and future growth and development of Cobourg that all must acknowledge.. They all relate to our continued reliance on the automobile brought about by our continuing promotion of urban sprawl. Contrary to popular imagination, electric vehicles are not the answer! From dust to dust electric vehicles reduce polluting energy consumption by less than1/3 … a gain only to be lost through future population growth. First: In the Oshawa/Whitby area there are far fewer interchanges per capita than there are now in Cobourg. There it’s approx 1 per 40,000 which connect to major north/south roads. With the present two In Cobourg it’s 1 per 10,000. Second: Convenient access to the 401 at the east end will draw traffic away from the commerce at the Northumberland Mall area and make it more attractive to take what seems like a quick ride to stores at Oshawa/Whitby. Third: All future indicators are that Cobourg will at least double in population over the next 50 years. If urban sprawl continues to be the model for future development as it is for the “Cobourg Trails” development at the east end and elsewhere around Cobourgs’ perifery, there will continue to be no hope for an efficient, convenient and affordable public transit system in Cobourg. In general: For the sake of future generations and the reduction of environmental degredation, what a responsible community like Cobourg should do is increase the efficient use of land within its’ borders, focus it’s traffic on its’ two north/south arteries and stay within those same borders for the next 50 years. Collateral benefits would reduce the destruction of increasingly valuable agricultural land (on which local food could be grown) and reduce the percapita cost of the… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Keith Oliver
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 1:42 pm

As usual, Keith, we agree and disagree. Yes, EVs are not a solution to any problem. Yes, Cobourg may double over the next 50 years. Over the last century we have grown at about 1% per year. Doubling in 50 years is an annual growth of about 1.39% per year so certainly not impossible unless we take action now.

We do not have and never have had an “efficient, convenient and affordable public transit system in Cobourg“. The current system costs the taxpayers about $12 per ride (almost as much as a taxi fare) yet riders pay a maximum of $2.25.

The solution would seem to be to control our growth with an objective of a maximum of our historical growth of 1% per year. That would mean a population of about 32,000 in 2072 rather than 38,000 as you postulated and ideally less than 30,000. Without a concerted effort to control our growth, a population of over 50,000 by 2072 (growth of 2% per year) is likely.

Lower growth could be achieved by a combination of increased development charges, increases in per capita green space together with larger required lot sizes, trees in all new developments to provide temperature mediation and enhanced environmental building standards such as better insulation, more efficient heating/cooling, solar installations on all new construction, etc.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 April 2022 3:10 pm

Lower growth could be achieved by a combination of increased development charges, increases in per capita green space together with larger required lot sizes,”

Better not say that too loud FordNation will hate you for it!

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 April 2022 5:42 pm


I did not refer to EVs (whatever they are), or rates of growth, but to the fact that the population of Cobourg in 1950 was just over 1/3 of what it is today, 70 years later.

What propels growth in population is complex and best described as much more than a statistical analysis of what has happened over the past.

Cobourg is well positioned to grow with its’ incredible accessible waterfront a short walk from the downtown; easy access to the 401 and the railway; availability of industrial lands; vibrant community; one of the best and most effective policies toward the homeless and affordable housing; Venture 13; and the best Town Council ever.

In reference to the latter, your favourite target of derision … yes we all make mistakes, don’t you? … the only difference is that Council makes theirs in public … all subject to public review, comment and removing them from office if the majority feels it necessary.

The future of Cobourg as a model for healthy, inclusive and affordable growth will not be determined by the size of that growth but by the policies and regulations that control and direct that growth.

For the reasons I gave earlier, the consideration of Nagel Road as an interchange with the 401 should be abandoned as early as possible.

Last edited 10 months ago by Keith Oliver
Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 8:44 pm

Keith you did refer to EV’ s several times….when you said electrical vehicles. The hip young kids call them EV’s.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Pete M
2 April 2022 11:12 am

Pete M

One thing is certain. I’m not a hip young kid. Every group, whether social or professional uses acronyms or give
established words new, sometimes nuenced meanings. The latter can often be understood in the context of the sentence in which they are used, but not always. The word “absolutely” is an evolving example.

For the sake of accuracy I believe it’s good practice to spell out the word(s) first followed by the acronym in brackets.

In the meantime we’re drifting off the subject put forward by John which is the decision by Council to invest in more studies to determine the feasibility of a 401/Nagel Road interchange.

In my longer post above, entered yesterday at 5:42 pm, I make an argument in support of abandoning consideration of a proposed interchange all together. It cannot be justified using most other established interchanges as an example, and what I hope is an overall long-term goal of reducing the use of the private automobile and its’ inefficient and polluting use of energy. The means will be better land-use planning and other forms of transportation.

With the exception of one short post below, I’ve said all I have to say on this blog.

Last edited 10 months ago by Keith Oliver
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
2 April 2022 1:24 pm

Keith, I certainly agree that it is good to define any obscure or industry specific acronyms. I am of a similar age to you so suffer equally from the deprecation or redefinition of common words. However, defining common acronyms is a waste of time. One can hardly read a newspaper without seeing references to EVs being our salvation. Our government has told us that only EVs will be allowed for sale within a decade.

In my opinion it is the goal of only the seriously misguided to reduce the use of private vehicles. Private vehicles have resulted in our emancipation from one of the worst examples of government control — public transit that determines when and where we can travel.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 10:56 pm

Yes, Keith, you did refer to electric cars in your third sentence so I don’t understand your comment that you didn’t. Further, I didn’t mention any mistakes by Cobourg Council so again I don’t understand your point. If historical growth trends are irrelevant then why do you mention them in your reply?

In the interest of accuracy, Cobourg’s population in 1951 was 7,470 for an increase by a factor of 2.6 over 71 years rather than the factor of 3 over 70 years that you mentioned.

As you mentioned there are many factors that will determine growth in Cobourg. However, in the current economic climate I think that the most important one is the cost of living, particularly for families, here relative to in the GTA. If we make housing more expensive — higher development charges, larger lots, more green space and with higher environmental standards for construction — we can counter the lower costs here and reduce our growth to something sustainable without encroaching on neighbouring farm lands.

Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 3:36 pm

So Keith, Im assuming you would support more multi storey residential buildings? 5, 6 or 7 stories tall?
Would you allow any of these buildings below university Ave? And if not, where then?

Also I fail to understand how putting an exchange at Nagle and 401 will negatively impact the stores at Elgin and Strathy Rd…by have motorists go thru to Oshawa/ Whitby?

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Pete M
1 April 2022 7:57 pm

Peter M, or whoever you are.

My comments opposing the proposed development of the 401/Nagle exchange encouraged the more efficient use of land, getting the residential densities and relevant land-use up to a level sufficient to support and enable an efficient, frequent and affordable public transit system and to reduce the use of the private automobile.

5-6-7 storey residential buildings? Where did you get that from? Explain your source. Why did you interpret my comments to envision that extreme?

Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 8:55 pm

So are you saying the population is to stay the same or are you saying a more efficient use of the land for an increased population?
If you want to fit more people into same amount of land, you have to build up and not out (no sprawl). If you want no sprawl and maintain the land, then you go up within the existing town footprint.
Please tell us what type of dwellings you would construct to contain the sprawl you envision??

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 11:09 pm

Keith, I am not aware of any Canadian town with affordable public transit when one considers the actual cost rather what the riders pay plus the personal cost of traveling only when and where the public system allows. Please provide some examples.

Why do you prefer polluting and inconvenient buses over private cars that efficiently provide the freedom to travel where and when one desires?

If not multi-story buildings, how do you expect to double the current population with the attendant growth in retail/ profession/ industrial space without either expanding the town’s boundaries or destroying our current family friendly homes on spacious lots and with adequate green space?

Last edited 10 months ago by Ken Strauss
Reply to  Ken Strauss
1 April 2022 11:40 pm

One way to increase density and walkability, is to stack residential on top of commercial. If you look at the new Tim Hortons and gas station at King and Brook Rd, that corner could have very well been a nice walkable little commercial/residential corner. The buildings could have face the street with a Tim’s on the bottom and rental units on top and parking hidden behind. Instead what we have is a Drive Thru and gas station with a building that quite literally has its back turned to King St. It’s pathetic urban design.

The same goes with the new strip mall in front of the mall. Add a floor or 2 and put rental units on top. These would not have to be 5-7 storey buildings.

Reply to  Ken Strauss
2 April 2022 6:32 pm

Keith, I am not aware of any Canadian town with affordable public transit when one considers the actual cost rather what the riders pay plus the personal cost of traveling only when and where the public system allows. Please provide some examples.”

Let answer for Keith Ken, You are absolutely correct in your statement that Transit runs at a loss. So does public health care and public education and almost everything labelled “public”. Those are social costs borne by Society by majority choice.

The majority has defined Transit as public and as such a social cost. If you don’t like that get a majority to Privatise it and deprive the people who need it of the service.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
2 April 2022 9:22 pm

Until quite recent times all transit was private and ran at a profit. Consider, for example, that the private Toronto Radial Railway provided prompt and affordable interurban service using electrified trains from the 1880s until around 1930.

Taking the specific case of Cobourg, why is public transit costing over $12 per ride, a better option than a far more convenient taxi?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
3 April 2022 8:20 am

Is it really will a trip home from the Metro across Town cost $12?

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
3 April 2022 10:39 am

Ben, the annual cost of Cobourg’s buses (drivers, staff, fuel, vehicle repairs, maintenance of bus stops, periodic bus replacements due to age, …) divided by the number of rides was about $12 when I last looked.

Note that the 2022 operating budget’s transit line item of $1,401,524 ($1,069,024 net of fares) does not include bus replacements ($240,000 allocated each year) and many of the other expenses to keep our buses running.

I hope that answers the gist of your question.

Last edited 10 months ago by Ken Strauss
Reply to  Pete M
2 April 2022 12:13 am

Where? Along the Kerr St. extension, both east and west of Division St.

High rise apartments for people who don’t want to live in family friendly homes on spacious lots – singles, seniors, empty-nesters, drivers, workers in stores, restaurants, and such – who just want a safe, comfortable place to call home.

A few large buildings there would not encroach on existing neighbourhoods while providing hundreds of lower-cost housing units for people who need it urgently.

Last edited 10 months ago by JimT
Pete M
Reply to  JimT
2 April 2022 9:21 am

I understand where ur coming from and its a great Idea. I believe there needs to be zoning changes from industrial to residential. Kerr street and Kerr street rightway actually runs along the old rail bed for the former Canadian Northern Railway. Also have to deal with rail spur that runs to Canada Pallet (this is the last remaining portion of the old Cobourg Peterborough Railway(

I would suggest greater effort be made to develop the old Tannery Lands with greater densities.

Reply to  Pete M
2 April 2022 11:15 am

OK, but the GE/Canada Pallet spur line is west of the new Kerr St. extension at present, so shouldn’t be a problem. (I’ve hiked that line many times, back when there were still rails in place there).

I’d like to see the Tannery Lands developed within my lifetime, but last I heard there were ground pollution issues to be resolved first.

Pete M
Reply to  JimT
2 April 2022 11:55 am

Jim t

businesses on north side of Buchanan Street from division to end of Buchanan back right up to Kerr St. That green space between the business back fences and Kerr St is to be used for Kerr St when it is expanded to 4 lanes and centre median.
Kerr St is to become a 4 lane main arterial road stretching from new amherst, where it is 4 lane with centre median all the way to workman rd in east.

So will need to find developer who can buy the land those Buchanan businesses on in order to realize those apt. buildings

Reply to  Pete M
6 April 2022 2:55 pm

Pete M.

Thanks for the info.

Kerr St. in the west end where it has a median is only 100 ft. wide, sidewalks included, so there is lots of room to build apts. on the north side of proposed Kerr extension back of Buchanan St. – and east of Division, too, seems to me.

The apts. at King W. and Ontario St., for example, could fit in there many times over, by my calculation, plus add a few floors to each new building for even more living space on the same footprint.

(By the way, the north side of Buchanan St. was almost all residential last time I biked through there.)

Last edited 9 months ago by JimT
Pete M
Reply to  JimT
6 April 2022 6:40 pm

Jim T
Take a look at this video. You will see the drone traveling east from Storm pond down Kerr to Division.
The right hand side of the video shows the south side if Kerr. You can see that the north fences and fence lines of the properties along Buchanan butt up to St Kerr.
That grassy area along the south curb of Kerr that runs to Division St will become the eastbound lanes of Kerr. The current pave portion will become the westbound lanes once the eastbound are put in place.
Im sorry there isnt enough space to put in apt buildings with necessary parking spaces

Pete M
Reply to  JimT
2 April 2022 12:00 pm

A more viable option is to take Brookside site and develop it into the type of housing you are suggesting. With proper design and layout it could be envy of other surrounding communities.
Could get the densification Keith wants too.

Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
1 April 2022 9:05 pm

Keith you stated
“Second: Convenient access to the 401 at the east end will draw traffic away from the commerce at the Northumberland Mall area and make it more attractive to take what seems like a quick ride to stores at Oshawa/Whitby.”

Can you please explain how an exit at Nagle Rd. creates thus situation..

If people want to go to Strathy Elgin area they will, regardless as to whether there are 3 exits or two exits in the 401.

Actually I see this as an opportunity to get on 401 at Burnham after doing my shopping at Mall area and getting off at Nagle as I head home to the east; avoiding the congestion of going thru Town

SW Buyer
Reply to  Pete M
1 April 2022 9:26 pm

Pete M
What! And miss all of the marvelous shopping opportunities just waiting for you in downtown Cobourg

Pete M
Reply to  SW Buyer
1 April 2022 11:22 pm

Only if I need a bank. Wait a minute, nope, I got that on my cphone too. So no

Pete M
Reply to  SW Buyer
1 April 2022 11:30 pm

SW buyer
I remember the day when Keith Oliver was totally against development at Strathy and Elgin.
Now he s concerned about long term viability of the area and how a third EXIT will drive vehicles he dreads to see on the streets of Cobourg to Oshawa/Whitby.

If I were a resident of Peterborough or Bellevile I would be upset with Keith and his Oshawa/Whitby only centered perspective

Pete M
Reply to  Keith Oliver
2 April 2022 12:05 am

I think you”re on to something with basing 401 exits on per capita numbers in comparison to GTA.
How dare Port Hope be allowed to have three.
Which one would you recommend closing?
I favour Wesleyville exit.

1 April 2022 10:58 am

From my perspective the greatest hazard in our town – and it continues to grow – is the lack of sidewalks or very poor arrangement of sidewalks in the entire East end of Cobourg. Proper sidewalks do not exist on D’Arcy St. !!! How long has D’Arcy been a busy arterial street? Before my time in Cobourg, which has been 35 years. Last week I watched a group of 6 or 8 Public School kids walking north of Gummow where the sidewalks just disappear. All of a sudden a very young voice yelled out “RUN” and the whole gang of kids instantly charged across D’Arcy to get to the only side with a sidewalk. That also happens to be the only side with NO housing on it. There is no housing on the West side of D’Arcy from just after University Ave. all the way to Elgin St. There are many missing stretches of sidewalk on the East side of D’Arcy – the only side with housing and school kids living there. There is no controlled crossing on D’Arcy except at either end – King St. and Elgin St. Not even a 4 Way Stop ! Twice every day all these school kids are forced at some point to run across D’Arcy to make their way to school and home again. No one in the municipality gives any care to this issue. I have spoken to most of them. Several pedestrian fatalities have occurred. If you visit the corner of Brook Road where 100s of new houses are poping up, you will see exactly the same lack of sidewalks as on D’Arcy. Yet the municipality can build a brand new road to follow the RR tracks from Division to D’Arcy. A road that is barely used ! Can this be… Read more »

1 April 2022 8:53 am

Are there any plans to create grade separation on Brook Rd and the train tracks? It is already an arterial road, and it will be fed by an additional arterial road that just happens to be the main feeder to and from the 401.

I would suggest the time to do this would be now, but I have not seen mention of it anywhere.

Reply to  Ahewson
1 April 2022 9:36 am

I concur! Time for a Brook Road overpass or underpass across the railway tracks!

Reply to  Ken
1 April 2022 10:22 am

I agree absolutely with you, Ken. Back in the 1970’s when I first started working for Winchester Western, I crossed those tracks every day — they were a mushy, marshy mess back then and have continued to be for the past 40+ years, although the reconstruction last year does seem to have lasted — Since the land is “so” marshy there, it seems that no matter what they do, within a year or so the crossing is a mess again.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Ken
2 April 2022 11:23 am

An overpass on Darcy had been suggested many years ago. I brought to the attention of Town Council a few years back that individuals who require mobility scooters and live south of the tracks will have a challenging job to get to the CCC. They did repair the sidewalk on the west side but a scooter sill has to go out onto a gravel curb dangerously near traffic to get across.

Reply to  Wally Keeler
2 April 2022 6:36 pm

Wally I do believe that the issue of an overpass on D’Arcy was the top election issue in 1965, perhaps it should be one in 2022. BTW it was defeated with the candidates that supported it.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben
3 April 2022 11:11 am

The Cobourg Sentinel Star even published a picture of what the overpass would look like. I suspect there were insufficient deaths and injuries to justify the expense of the overpass. Darcy is more busy now, so it might be worth revisiting.

31 March 2022 7:27 pm

 “growth within Cobourg East Community will determine the need for the interchange in the future.”

Any idea about the metric used for growth? Since there’s development occurring on both sides of Elgin at Brook, what’s the hold up?

Reply to  David
31 March 2022 7:38 pm

I believe the hold up is lack of infrastructure, mainly sewer water and hydro.

Reply to  David
1 April 2022 8:49 am

You GOT It Servicing
the same happened with the Vandyke development
thats why the house prices went up at the end .

Reply to  Sandpiper
1 April 2022 3:15 pm

The Town does not provide services in this area the Developers will. So far few of them have been willing to post the necessary Bond that guarantees the provision of services. It is expensive to pump the poo over the hill to the treatment plant that has plenty of capacity.