User:Floydian/Queen Elizabeth Way

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The Middle Road was not the first highway between Toronto and Hamilton. In January 1914, a cement road known as the Toronto–Hamilton Highway was proposed.[1] The highway was chosen to run along the macadamized old Lake Shore Road, instead of Dundas Street to the north, because of the numerous hills encountered along Dundas Street, which would have increased the cost of the road without improving accessibility. Middle Road, a dirt lane named because of its position between the two, was not considered since Lake Shore and Dundas were both overcrowded and in need of serious repairs.[2] By November of that year, the proposal was approved,[3] and work began quickly to construct the road known today as Lake Shore Boulevard and Lakeshore Road from Toronto to Hamilton. The road was finished by 1917, 18 feet (5.5 m) in width and nearly 40 mi (64 km) long, becoming the first concrete road in Ontario, as well as one of the longest stretches of concrete road between two cities in the world.[4] The highway became the favourite drive of many motorists, and it quickly became a tradition for many families to drive it every Sunday.[5]

"A black and white photograph of a divided roadway being crossed by another roadway. The horizon cuts the photo in half. The setting is mostly rural, with the roadways slicing through that. The divided road extends from the lower right corner to the centre of the horizon, while the second roadway crosses horizontally halfway towards the foreground. Connecting the two separated roadways are a series of ramps. Although only half visible from the angle of the photo, the ramps form the shape of a four-leaf clover surrounded by a diamond."
The cloverleaf interchange at Middle Road and Highway 10 was the first controlled access interchange in Canada.

Over the next decade, vehicle usage increased monumentally; as early as 1920 the Lake Shore Road was once again bumper to bumper on weekends.[6] In response, the Department of Highways once again sought out improving another road between Toronto and Hamilton. Middle Road, a continuation of Queen Street west of the Humber River, was chosen to avoid delays on Dundas or Lake Shore. The road was to be more than twice the width of the Lake Shore Road, at 40 ft (12 m), and would carry two lanes of traffic in each direction.[7] Construction on what was then known as the Queen Street Extension between Highway 10 and Highway 27 began in the spring of 1931,[8] and between Highway 27 and the Humber River on November 1, 1931.[9]

"A black and white photo of a rural area. A divided road (divided by a grass centre with trees) is paved and runs from the right into the background, with several cars visible in the distance. Several tall conifers dominate the foreground."
Middle Road in 1937, east of present day Erin Mills Parkway, looking east towards Toronto.

Before the highway could be completed, the 1934 provincial elections brought Mitchell Hepburn into office as premier and Thomas McQuesten was appointed the new minister of the Department of Highways.[10] McQuesten in turn appointed Robert Melville Smith as deputy minister. Smith, inspired by the German Autobahns - new "dual-lane divided highways", separated by a depressed grass centre crossing short distances between major cities - modified the design for Ontario roads,[11] and McQuesten ordered that the Middle Road be changed into this new form of highway.[12][13][14] A right-of-way of 132 ft (40 m) was purchased along the Middle Road and construction began to convert the existing sections to a divided highway, as well as on Canada's first cloverleaf interchange at Highway 10.[7]

By the end of 1937, the Middle Road was open between Toronto and Burlington, where it connected with what was first known as the Hamilton – Niagara Falls Highway. It soon came time to name the new highway, and an upcoming visit by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth proved to be the focal point for a dedication ceremony. On June 7th, the two royal family members drove along the highway (which now connected to Niagara Falls) and passed through a light beam at the Henley Bridge in St. Catharines. This caused two Union Jacks to swing out, revealing a sign which read The Queen Elizabeth Way.[15]

However, the ceremony only designated the highway between St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. The remainder of the road was known by various names, including the Toronto–Burlington/Hamilton Highway and The New Middle Road Highway. At the formal opening of the highway between Toronto and Niagara Falls on August 23, 1940, the entire length was declared The Queen Elizabeth Way by Thomas McQueston.[15]

One of the first sections of the QEW to be upgraded to a freeway was from highway 10 (now Hurontario Street) to Dixie Road in what is now Mississauga, in early 1956. Service roads were installed and 13 intersections eliminated, and the accident rate was reduced by 50%.[16]

Route description[edit]

The Queen Elizabeth Way originally "began" in Toronto and travelled around Lake Ontario to Niagara Falls. However, when route numbering was introduced, Exit 1 was assigned to the opposite end. By this point, the Gardiner Expressway had been constructed, and may have influenced this decision. However, as the extension to Fort Erie was based on the tourist-potential of a connection to the United States, there are multiple possibilities behind the decision.

Upon entering into Canada at the Peace Bridge, drivers first pass through international customs before proceeding onto the QEW. Exits are also provided to Highway 3 and the Niagara Parkway. The QEW progresses through the relatively rural town of Fort Erie towards the north-west surrounded by a mix of farmland and forest. This section of the freeway retains the same appearance as it did in the 1950's; only repaving has occurred. Approaching Niagara Falls, the freeway curves to the north and enters suburban developments before crossing the Queenston-Chippawa Hydro Canal. It is mostly situated on the western outskirts of Niagara Falls in this section. Shortly after meeting Highway 420 at a complex interchange, the freeway resumes a north-eastward orientation towards St. Catharines. It again crosses through a mix of farmland and forest before merging with Highway 405 (which provides freeway access into New York for Fort Erie -bound drivers). It passes beneath a rail overpass; until a recent reconstruction, this overpass was a dangerous choke point.

Entering into St. Catharines, the QEW crosses former Highway 8 and ascends over the Welland Canal on the Garden City Skyway, bypassing the old lifting Homer Bridge. It descends into the city, sandwiched between residential development to the south and industrial warehouses to the north. Progressing west through St. Catharines, the freeway approaches the shore of Lake Ontario, which it follows for the remainder of its length.

Exit list[edit]

Exits are numbered from Fort Erie to Toronto.

Division Location km Exit Destinations Notes
Peace Bridge over the Niagara River
Niagara Fort Erie 0.2  Regional Road 124 (Central Avenue) – Fort Erie International customs plaza; no exit number; no access from Central Avenue to Peace Bridge
1.1 1  Regional Road 126 (Concession Road) Toronto-bound exit and Fort Erie -bound entrance; signed as exits 1A (north) and 1B (south) Toronto-bound
2.1 2  Regional Road 122 south (Thompson Road) to  Highway 3 – Fort Erie, Windsor Toronto-bound exit and Fort Erie -bound entrance
 Regional Road 122 (Thompson Road)
 Regional Road 17 (Bertie Street)
Fort Erie -bound exit and Toronto-bound entrance
4.6 5  Regional Road 19 (Gilmore Road)
6.7 7  Regional Road 21 (Bowen Road) – Stevensville
12.2 12  Regional Road 25 (Netherby Road) – Welland, Stevensville
Niagara Falls
15.5 16  Regional Road 116 (Sodom Road) – Chippawa, Stevensville, Crystal Beach
22.1 21  Regional Road 47 (Lyons Creek Road) – Welland, Chippawa
26.6 27  Regional Road 49 (McLeod Road) – Niagara Falls
29.5 30  Highway 420 – Niagara FallsRainbow Bridge to Niagara Falls, USA
Watson Street
Dorchester Road
31.5 32  Regional Road 57 (Thorold Stone Road) – Thorold Signed as exits 32A (east) and 32B (west)
34.0 34  Regional Road 101 (Mountain Road)
Niagara-on-the-Lake 36.5 37  Highway 405 – Queenston Niagara-bound exit and Toronto-bound entrance
37.8 38  Regional Road 89 (Glendale Avenue) – Niagara-on-the-Lake
Garden City Skyway over the Welland Canal
St. Catharines
43.9 44  Regional Road 48 (Niagara Street) / Service Road
45.6 46  Regional Road 44 (Lake Street)
46.9 47  Regional Road 42 (Ontario Street)
47.7 48  Regional Road 38 (Martindale Road) Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance
48.4 49  Highway 406 – Thorold, Welland, Port Colborne
 Regional Road 39 (3rd Street / North Service Road)
50.4 51  Regional Road 34 (7th Street)
Lincoln 54.7 55  Regional Road 26
57.6 57  Regional Road 24 (Victoria Avenue) – Vineland
64.3 64  Regional Road 18 (Ontario Street) – Beamsville
Grimsby 68.1 68  Regional Road 14 (Bartlett Avenue)
70.6 71  Regional Road 12 (Christie Street) / Maple Avenue / Ontario Street
74.2 74  Regional Road 10 (Casablanca Boulevard)
Hamilton 77.8 78 Regional Road 450 (Fifty Road)
82.9 83 Regional Road 455 (Fruitland Road)
88.1 88 Regional Road 20 (Centennial Parkway)
South Service Road
Formerly Highway 20
89 Red Hill Valley Parkway
89.8 89 Burlington Street
90 Woodward Avenue Niagara-bound exit and Toronto-bound entrance
93.8 93 Eastport Drive (Highway 7189) Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance
Burlington Bay James N. Allan Skyway over Burlington Bay
Halton Burlington
97.1 97 North Shore Boulevard, Eastport Drive Formerly Highway 2
99.5 99 Plains Road, Fairview Street Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance
100.5 100  Highway 407 east Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance
 Highway 403 – Hamilton, Brantford, John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport Beginning of Highway 403 overlap; Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance
101.3 101 Regional Road 18 (Brant Street) Niagara-bound exit and Toronto-bound entrance
103.2 102 Regional Road 1 (Guelph Line)
105.2 105 Walkers Line
107.3 107 Regional Road 20 (Appleby Line)
109.3 109 Regional Road 21 (Burloak Drive)
110.9 110 Service Road Access removed in 2008 to accommodate widening of the QEW
111.3 111 Regional Road 25 (Bronte Road) – Milton
113.4 113 3rd Line
116.5 116 Regional Road 17 (Dorval Drive)
Kerr Street Niagara-bound exit only
118.6 118 Regional Road 3 (Trafalgar Road)
120.0 119 Royal Windsor Drive Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance; formerly Highway 122
123.1 123 Regional Road 13 (Ford Drive)
 Highway 403 east – Toronto End of Highway 403 concurrency; Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance
124.5 124  Regional Road 19 (Winston Churchill Boulevard)
Peel Mississauga
126.6 126  Regional Road 1 (Erin Mills Parkway)
Southdown Road
Southdown Road formerly Highway 122
130.7 130 Mississauga Road
132.7 132 Hurontario Street Formerly Highway 10.
134.9 134  Regional Road 17 (Cawthra Road)
136.7 136  Regional Road 4 (Dixie Road) Niagara-bound exit and Toronto-bound entrance
Toronto 138.5 138 Evans Avenue, West Mall, Brown's Line Toronto-bound exit and Niagara-bound entrance
139.1 139  Highway 427Pearson Airport
145.3  Highway 2 (Lakeshore Boulevard) Redesignated as an extension of the Gardiner Expressway January 1, 1998
 Queen Elizabeth Way continues east into downtown Toronto as Gardiner Expressway
  1. ^ The Toronto World (January 22, 1914). "Toronto–Hamilton Highway Proposed". 34 (12125). p. 14. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ Shragge p. 55
  3. ^ The Toronto World (October 26, 1914). "Council Meets Today To Pass Agreement". 34 (12402). p. 3. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ Shragge p. 55 "...the Toronto-to-Hamilton highway which, when completed in 1917, was both Ontario's first concrete highway and one of the longest such inter-city stretches in the world."
  5. ^ Shragge, John G. (2007). "Story Archive". Retrieved February 24, 2010. 
  6. ^ Toronto World (June 26, 1920). "Increased Volume of Traffic". 40 (14472). p. 7. Retrieved February 12, 2010.  |section= ignored (help)
  7. ^ a b Shragge p. 79
  8. ^ Filey, Mike (1994). Toronto sketches 3: the way we were. Dundurn Press. pp. –. ISBN 1-55002-227-X. Retrieved February 10, 2010. 
  9. ^ The Gazette (October 16, 1931). "Tenders Called For". 160 (255). Montreal. p. 15. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  10. ^ Shragge, John G. (2007). "Highway 401 - The story". Archived from the original on March 28, 2008. Retrieved February 12, 2010. 
  11. ^ Stamp pp. 19–20
  12. ^ Canadian Press (February 18, 1936). "Hopes to Improve Roads". 165 (42). Montreal: The Gazette. p. 14. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  13. ^ English, Bob (March 16, 2006). "Remember that 'little four-lane freeway?'". Toronto: Globe And Mail. Retrieved February 9, 2010. ...the freeway concept was promoted by Hamiltonian Thomas B. McQuesten, then the highway minister. The Queen Elizabeth Way was already under construction, but McQuesten changed it into a dual-lane divided highway, based on Germany's new autobahns. 
  14. ^ Smith pp. 11–12
  15. ^ a b Filey, Mike (June 6, 2010). "A royal trip around T.O.". The Toronto Sun. Sun Media. p. 37.  |section= ignored (help)
  16. ^ "Accident Alley Crashes Reduced By 50 Per Cent". Globe and Mail. Toronto. 1956-07-21. p. 22.