If you only use the Glendale overpass occasionally, you might be surprised by the changes you see.
Clearing the area for construction in preparation for the huge, $53.8 million project over the QEW now underway to build a new interchange began just a few weeks ago. The speed of the work and the amount that has been accomplished since is surprising, says Steve Hardaker, a Niagara-on-the-Green resident who has been following it with interest.
As a member of the Glendale Community Task Force, he has followed the progress from the early discussion stages with interest.
“There was a lot of stuff cleared at first, and now there is a lot of dirt. I was surprised how much, and how high it is — higher than the road. I don’t know where it’s all coming from,” he says.
Although a lot is happening, and quickly, it’s also surprising how little disruption there has been to traffic, Hardaker says.
There is a new set of stop lights on the south side of the interchange, and one left turn lane has been removed, but other than that, the overpass is unchanged. The plan is for it to remain that way until the new diverging diamond interchange is completed.
Although traffic isn’t being interrupted, there is a lot going on to watch, he says, and to distract drivers, including him.
He and his wife walk a lot in the area, both of them usually with cameras, and although they chat with neighbours, he says nobody is complaining about the work.
“I don’t get any sense that the residents are impacted at all. So many are working from home anyway due to COVID, there just isn’t as much traffic as there normally would be.”
With a home backing on to Taylor Road, he hears noisy trucks and heavy equipment vehicles, making it impossible to sit outside, but although the traffic has increased, it’s not really new, he says.
Although the town was asked and agreed to lift the noise bylaw for construction, allowing work to continue around the clock, including Sundays, so the aggressive timeline for construction could be met, that hasn’t occurred yet, he says.
There is a lot of curiosity about the new diverging diamond interchange that will replace the overpass over the QEW, he says.
He’s never driven on one, nor have many others, with this one the first in Ontario, and only two others, both out west.
There are about 150 in the U.S., although some of them may still be under construction.
The most unusual feature is that traffic crosses to the opposite sides of the road at some point, while the other side is stopped, to allow better traffic flow, allowing drivers to make left turns without crossing traffic, thereby cutting down on opportunities for collisions.
The Glendale interchange has been an area of town with a high number of collisions, although not serious or fatal ones.
Hardaker says Glendale residents have been assured there will be an opportunity to learn about navigating through a diverging diamond before the interchange is ready to open.
While that’s the major part of the project, expected to be completed and open for traffic in November, 2022, there is more to come.
The region and the province are together working on a five-stage project that also includes:
• Reconstructing the Glendale Avenue/York Road intersection to a single-lane roundabout
• Constructing a new Airport Road loop ramp and connection road from Glendale Avenue to York Road/Airport Road intersection
• Constructing a new commuter carpool lot northwest of the interchange
• Rehabilitating the pavement on the QEW eastbound and westbound lanes between the east end of the Garden City Skyway bridge and QEW / Hwy. 405 split
• Extending the right turning lane of Glendale Avenue between Taylor Road and Niagara-on-
Completion of all stages is anticipated for 2023.