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SEARCH ENGINE: More bridge work coming on QEW

By Karena Walter, The Standard

Bowen Road bridge over the QEW highway near Fort Erie. Wednesday May 17, 2017 Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network

Bowen Road bridge over the QEW highway near Fort Erie. Wednesday May 17, 2017 Bob Tymczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/Postmedia Network

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Q: I have noticed that there is a lot of work being done on the southwest side by the QEW at Bowen Road and Sunset in Fort Erie. They have been erecting new hydro poles on both sides of the highway. Does this have something to do with the speedway going in? Could this maybe be a new overpass or widening of the old one?

A: Work being done off the QEW in Fort Erie is in anticipation of a shiny new bridge for Bowen Road.

Ministry of Transportation spokeswoman Astrid Poei said the MTO is realigning Bowen Road slightly to the south to accommodate the new two-span bridge, along with drainage and roadside safety improvements, pavement rehabilitation and illumination.

The new bridge will have a higher clearance over the QEW than the current structure, which is more than 70 years old.

Poei said utility companies are relocating their services in advance of the MTO’s construction contract and are expected to be on site until the end of the summer.

Bridge work is scheduled to begin this fall and be finished before the end of 2018.

Poei said the work is unrelated to Canadian Motor Speedway.

“We are aware of the Canadian Motor Speedway but the replacement is about keeping our bridge in a state of good repair,” she wrote in an email. “The bridge was erected in 1942 and has neared the end of its life span.”

A $400-million speedway development has been in the works for a decade on land west of the QEW between Bowen and Gilmore roads.

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Q: Are there plans to fix the railroad crossing on First Street Louth in St. Catharines? Since the new hospital has been built, there is an increase in traffic going down that road and you basically have to crawl over those tracks. There are big potholes there making it dangerous for cars going over.

A: The intersection is busier than it used to be, agrees St. Catharines manager of transportation services Brian Applebee.

Coming up with a plan is on the city’s radar.

Applebee said Niagara Region is finishing up its transportation master plan and then the City of St. Catharines will begin its own. One of the things the city’s master plan will address is the increased traffic in the area around the hospital now and into the future to 2041.

The master plan will look at what improvements may have to be made and the potential need for a grade separation on one of the streets in the area, whether on Louth, First Street Louth or another. That means constructing a tunnel or a bridge to allow traffic to get under or over the tracks.

It’s a long-term, pricey idea that Applebee said would first have to take into account the number of vehicles and trains in the area and their speeds.

As for potholes at the tracks, Applebee said he hasn’t heard anything about that but would have staff take a look.

The St. Catharines hospital complex on Fourth Avenue opened in March 2013, moving from its old building on Queenston Street.

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Q: Just up from the elegant Toronto Hydro building (Search Engine: Hydro plants built to impress, May 6, 2017) is a smaller gate house building. To its right side is a fairly large pool/basin. My question is how deep is that pool? I remember walking by it almost 31 years ago and it had been drained and being worked on and I noted how deep it went.

A: We asked Jim Hill, superintendent of heritage for Niagara Parks Commission, to wade into this one.

He said the pool at the gatehouse is about 30 feet (10 metres) deep.

Hill based the number on original designs — the conduits, or tunnels, under the gatehouse are 19 feet in diameter and sit 10 feet under water.

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Fact Finder!

Search Engine asked its online readers if they have a protective cover over their licence plates (Search Engine, Driving home answers to roadworthy questions, April 29, 2017). Of 266 respondents, the majority at 62 per cent said their licence plates are naked. Twenty-two per cent said they have crystal clear covers, while 12 per cent said they have tinted, but readable, covers. Two per cent admitted their covers are probably too dark while another one per cent said they don’t know if there’s something over their plates. The remaining one per cent said they don’t have a vehicle. 

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Send your queries to Karena Walter by email at kwalter@postmedia.com

or Facebook at www.facebook.com/karenawalter

 

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