A new highway interchange Barrhaven residents have been waiting years for is one-step closer to reality.

The Ontario government and the city of Ottawa have signed a legal agreement to proceed with an environmental assessment of a highway interchange at Barnsdale Road and Hwy. 416.

Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, together with Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder spoke to media at a news conference Friday.

"This is absolutely necessary," said MacLeod, Ontario's Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture. "Our transportation infrastructure needs to keep up with the rapid pace of growth in our community."

According to a press release for the update, the community of Barrhaven has seen some of the fastest growth in Ontario, with its population increasing from 40,000 in 2001 to 77,000 in 2012. Today, Barrhaven’s population is over 90,000 and is projected to increase by almost 20,000 residents over the next ten years.

The only highway interchange into Barrhaven currently is Fallowfield Road at Highway 416.   The promise of a new one at Barnsdale Road would be further south.

"This one will make better use of 416; and also, it will take a lot of pressure out of the internal roads here, and give people an opportunity to head south - in order to head north," Harder said.

"Oh, it’s greatly needed," said Barrhaven resident Lisa Labelle. "We’re hoping for it, we were told like in the first, when we moved 13 years ago that would be 10 years in."

The interchange has been announced before; Friday’s update provided an announcement of two Public Information Centres for later this year.

"Today, what’s new is not only our government’s commitment to ensuring that this Barnsdale exit comes to fruition; but, there will be public consultation occurring. It’s important that the public participates in this and shares their views," said MacLeod.

The "Notice of Study Completion and Public Review" is scheduled to be released in January.  

In an email response to CTV News Ottawa, the Ministry of Transportation wrote that, “Once the EA is approved, the city of Ottawa will be responsible for the construction of the interchange and will determine the timeline for construction.”