The 5-day closure of the Burlington Skyway is triggering calls for a renewed look at the stalled Niagara to GTA corridor. Ron Foxcroft, owner of Fluke transport says the crash caught trucking companies flat footed, resulting in expensive delays. In today’s highly competitive transportation market, some truckers face stiff financial penalties from their customers or even the refusal to accept a shipment when trucks arrive late, regardless of the cause. “This catastrophe underlines the need to develop an alternate route to the QEW,” Foxcroft said. The Fort Erie-to-Hamilton portion should start tomorrow. Successive Ontario governments have done nothing to address road congestion for the past 20 years. They seem to think the best way to solve the problem is to ignore it.”
Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina had a similar view. “I raised the issue of the need for an alternative to the QEW with the Premier during the election campaign, and I raised it again with Minister Del Duca in our meeting last month–hopefully this incident will serve to underline how important it is to get this project back on the government’s priority list.”
The Niagara to GTA highway corridor was first announced by the Harris Government. The project ran into opposition led by vocal anti-highway groups in Halton who objected to a possible crossing of the Niagara Escarpment. After about ten years of public consultation the Transportation Ministry put the project on ice and announced that instead of an alternate route it would widen the Queen Elizabeth Way. The QEW widening scheme calls for a re-build of the Burlington Skyway, a project that could see the bridge under construction for a period of years. Hamilton City Manager Chris Murray who headed the Red Hill Creek expressway project says widening the QEW could create a hazardous traffic situation in the stretch of the highway that runs from Centennial Parkway to Burlington Street. He said that weaving traffic through that area is tricky enough now, and could be made even worse with the addition or more lanes of traffic.
Written by: John Best