Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway

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Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway
Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway 2004.jpg
The Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway, taken in July 2004. The older span carrying QEW Toronto-bound traffic is in front of the newer one. In the background is the Hamilton Harbour.
Coordinates 43°17′58″N 79°47′53″W / 43.29945°N 79.79799°W / 43.29945; -79.79799Coordinates: 43°17′58″N 79°47′53″W / 43.29945°N 79.79799°W / 43.29945; -79.79799
Carries vehicular traffic with 8 lanes (4 lanes per direction)
Crosses Hamilton Harbour
Locale Hamilton, Ontario and Burlington, Ontario
Other name(s) Burlington Skyway
Maintained by Ontario Ministry of Transportation
Design steel Through arch bridge - 1958 span
Total length 2,560 metres (8,400 ft) - 1958 span
2,160 metres (7,090 ft) - 1985 span
Width 30 metres (98 ft)
Opened October 30, 1958 (Northbound structure)
October 11, 1985 (Southbound structure)
Daily traffic 149,000 per day (2014) [1]
Toll 1958-1973

The Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway, originally called the Burlington Bay Skyway (and colloquially known as just the Burlington Skyway), is a pair of high-level freeway bridges located in Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario, Canada. The Skyway, as it is locally known, is part of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) highway linking Fort Erie with Toronto.

The first bridge (steel structure) was completed in 1958 and officially opened October 30, 1958,[2] crossing the narrow bar separating Burlington Bay from Lake Ontario. This allows for Great Lakes ship traffic to flow underneath while four lanes of Golden Horseshoe road traffic may flow on top of it, neither disturbing the other. The bridge was designed by John Turner Bell.

The bridge had tolls when constructed, but these were removed December 28, 1973[2] after they were found to heavily impede traffic flow. Truck drivers in particular had refused to take the tolled bridge since not only were they charged the full toll but also it took them extra fuel to ascend the Skyway. With the lifting of tolls on the bridge, trucks were then banned from using Beach Boulevard.

When traffic volume became more than the bridge could accommodate in the early 1980s, the bridge was twinned. When the new skyway (concrete structure) was opened on October 11, 1985,[2] traffic was temporarily rerouted to it so that the old bridge could be extensively rehabilitated and this work was completed August 22, 1988.[2] Afterwards, there were eight lanes of traffic crossing the harbour.

Construction of the skyway in 1958.

The twinning project also saw a major upgrade of the freeway approaches to the bridge. The entire project resulted in the QEW being widened to eight lanes from Burlington Street to Highway 403, with modern Parclo interchanges at Burlington Street, Northshore Boulevard (former Highway 2), and Fairview Street/Plains Road. This section has a variable lighting system to overcome the frequent fog found in the area. It is also the site of Ontario's first freeway traffic management system which incorporates traffic cameras and changeable message signs.

A federally owned low-level lift bridge linking Beach Boulevard in the Hamilton neighbourhood of Hamilton Beach and Lakeshore Road in the Burlington neighbourhood of Burlington Beach continues to operate. This is mainly used by local traffic, although ramps from the QEW have been configured to allow easy access to the bridge and re-entry to the highway, should the skyway bridge close because of high winds and adverse weather conditions, exacerbated by its towering height.

The original name of the first bridge was the Burlington Bay Skyway. After it was twinned, the proposed names of James N. Allan Skyway (in honour of the Ontario Minister of Highways James Noble Allan, who had championed the 1958 bridge) and James N. Allan Burlington Bay Skyway were rejected. The official name since 1988 has been Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway.[2]

The first bridge is 36 m (118 ft) high [1] and 2560 m (8397 ft, 8 in) long from abutment to abutment. The second bridge is 400 m (1300 ft) shorter. The skyway is 30 m (97 ft) wide.[2]

Panoramic view of Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway Bridge, near Beach Boulevard.

In fall 2008, most of the older Aluminum Tapered Leg (ATL) overhead sign gantries (commonly referred by the MTO as a "Type 1" structure) which had been installed back in the late 1980s were replaced with the newer triangular truss gantries.[3][4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ O'Reilly, Nicole (August 1, 2014). "UPDATE: Burlington skyway lanes to stay closed through weekend". thespec.com. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Fast Facts from Hamilton's Past". Archived from the original on September 5, 2006. Retrieved January 8, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Ontario Highway 401 Photographs - Page 8 - History of Ontario's Kings Highways". Thekingshighway.ca. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Way - Ontario | Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr. June 12, 2004. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Queen Elizabeth Way - Stoney Creek to Burlington - Images". Asphaltplanet.ca. Retrieved August 1, 2014. 

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