Queen Elizabeth Way

From Academic Kids

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The Queen Elizabeth Way as part of the 400-series network

The Queen Elizabeth Way (commonly referred to as the QEW, Q, QE, or Queen-E) is a vital freeway linking Buffalo, New York and the Niagara Peninsula with Toronto and its western suburbs. The freeway starts at the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, Ontario and continues 139 km through Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga before ending at the junction of Highway 427 and the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto. The QEW is one of Ontario's busier highways with over 200,000 average trips per day. The QEW is not referred to by any route number. Many falsely think of the QEW as Ontario's hidden Highway 1. This is not true. In fact, although never signed, the QEW does have the secret designation of Highway 451 and is considered part of the 400-Series Highway network. In planning documents in the 1940s, the QEW was also referred to as Highway 402.

Major freeway junctions are located at Highway 420, Highway 405, Highway 406, Highway 403 in Burlington, Highway 407, Highway 403 in Oakville and Highway 427. A section of QEW through Halton Region (exits 101 through 123) is concurrently signed with Highway 403.

The Queen Elizabeth Way originally started as a divided-highway upgrade of the Middle Road through what is now Halton and Peel Region.

The highway was not named for Queen Elizabeth I or Queen Elizabeth II, but for the Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) who was married to King George VI. In 1939 King George and Queen Elizabeth made a tour of Canada to celebrate his coronation and make themselves known to their Canadian subjects.

The signs identifying the highway originally showed its full name only in small letters, with large script letters ER (for Elizabeth Regina, or Queen Elizabeth in Latin) where the highway number would go on other signs. In 1955 these were replaced by QEW signs similar to Ontario's usual "King's Highway" signs, but with blue lettering on a yellow background instead of the usual black on white. Because the highway curves sharply around the end of Lake Ontario, its directions are not signed with compass points as usual in Canada, but with destination cities, such as QEW Toronto. The MTO is quite consistant with how directions are signed. QEW Toronto is used consistantly for traffic that heads towards Toronto, regardless of its final destination. In the opposite direction, different names are used. Between Toronto and Hamilton, it is signed QEW Hamilton. Between Hamilton and Niagara Falls, it is signed QEW Niagara. Finally, between Niagara Falls and Fort Erie, it is signed QEW Fort Erie.

Various upgrades during the 1940s and 1950s brought the Queen Elizabeth Way up to modern freeway standards between Toronto and Hamilton, and later over its entire length. The Queen Elizabeth Way was extended further south to Fort Erie after World War II, leaving the QEW's original route to the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls as a branch which later became Highway 420. High-level bridges were constructed at Hamilton Harbour (the James N. Allan Skyway Bridge, originally Burlington Bay Skyway) and the Welland Canal in St. Catharines (the Garden City Skyway) in the 1960s to allow free movement of traffic without the need to stop for drawbridges; tolls on these bridges were eventually removed. The QEW is also well known for its vintage highway architecture, which is slowly being replaced as the highway is upgraded through St. Catharines and Niagara Falls. An original 1936 rail overpass at Sandplant Hill in Niagara Falls is to be replaced in 2005, as is the 1937-vintage Martindale Road overpass in St. Catharines.

The QEW formerly continued beyond Highway 427 to the old Toronto city limit at the Humber River; this section was downloaded from provincial to municipal ownership in 1997, and became part of the Gardiner Expressway. A monument was originally located at the highway's Toronto terminus, dedicated to the 1940 visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and consisted of a column with a crown at the top and a lion at the base. The monument was later moved in order to accommodate widening of the original QEW, and is now located in the nearby Sir Casimir Gzowski Park along Lake Ontario, on the east side of the Humber River.

Today, the QEW is a full four- to eight-lane freeway running through the heart of Ontario's tourist region. Construction is currently underway to widen the highway from four to six lanes through all of St. Catharines and Niagara Falls as well as a full eight to ten-lane widening though Halton Region. Due to increased traffic volumes and environmental issues throughout the Niagara Region, plans are underway to construct a Mid-Peninsula Bypass of the QEW, running from Fort Erie though Welland ending in Burlington at Highway 407.


Lane Configurations from Fort Erie to Toronto

Section Travel Lanes
Peace Bridge to Mountain Road (Niagara Road 101) 2 Lanes per Direction
Mountain Road to Highway 405 2 Lanes per Direction
1 additional lane per direction currently under construction
Highway 405 to Niagara Street (Niagara Road 48)/Service Road 3 Lanes per Direction
Niagara Street/Service Road to Highway 406 2 Lanes per Direction
1 additional lane per direction currently under construction
Highway 406 to Woodward Avenue 3 Lanes per Direction
Woodward Avenue to North Shore Boulevard/Eastport Drive 4 Lanes per Direction
North Shore Boulevard/Eastport Drive to Highway 403 West/Highway 407 3 Lanes per Direction
Highway 403 West/Highway 407 to Third Line 3 Lanes per Direction
2 additional lanes per direction currently under construction
Third Line to Highway 403 East 3 Lanes per Direction
1 additional lane per direction currently under construction
Highway 403 East to Highway 427 3 Lanes per Direction

Interchanges from Fort Erie to Toronto

Municipality Exit Number Intersecting Roads
Fort Erie 0 Goderich Street (Niagara Road 3) (Toronto-bound), Central Avenue (Niagara Road 134) (Fort Erie-bound)
Fort Erie 1 Concession Road (Toronto-bound)
Fort Erie 2 Thompson Road South (Toronto-bound), Bertie Street/Central Avenue (Fort Erie-bound)
Fort Erie 5 Gilmore Road (Niagara Road 19)
Fort Erie 7 Bowen Road (Niagara Road 21)
Fort Erie - Niagara Falls Boundary 12 Netherby Road (Niagara Road 25)
Niagara Falls 16 Sodom Road (Niagara Road 116)
Niagara Falls 21 Lyons Creek Road (Niagara Road 47)
Niagara Falls 27 McLeod Road (Niagara Road 49)
Niagara Falls 30 Highway 420/Lundy's Lane (Niagara Road 20)/Dorchester Road
Niagara Falls 32 Thorold Stone Road (Niagara Road 57)
Niagara Falls 34 Mountain Road (Niagara Road 101)
Niagara-on-the-Lake 37 Highway 405 (Niagara-bound only)
Niagara-on-the-Lake 38 Niagara Road 55/Glendale Avenue (Niagara Road 89)
St. Catharines 44 Niagara Street (Niagara Road 48)/Service Road
St. Catharines 46 Lake Street
St. Catharines 47 Ontario Street (Niagara Road 42)
St. Catharines 48 Martindale Road (Niagara Road 38) (Toronto-bound only)
St. Catharines 49 Highway 406, North Service Road (Toronto-bound only)
St. Catharines 51 Seventh Street (Niagara Road 34)
Lincoln 55 Jordan Road (Niagara Road 26)
Lincoln 57 Victoria Avenue (Niagara Road 24)
Lincoln 64 Ontario Street (Niagara Road 18)
Grimsby 68 Bartlett Avenue (Niagara Road 14)
Grimsby 71 Christie Street (Niagara Road 12)/Ontario Street/Maple Avenue
Grimsby 74 Casablanca Boulevard (Niagara Road 10)
Hamilton 78 Fifty Road (Hamilton Road 50)
Hamilton 83 Fruitland Road (Hamilton Road 55)
Hamilton 88 Centennial Parkway (Hamilton Road 20), Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway (under construction)
Hamilton 89 Burlington Street
Hamilton 90 Woodward Avenue (Niagara-bound only)
Hamilton 93 Eastport Drive (Toronto-bound only)
Burlington 97 North Shore Boulevard, Eastport Drive
Burlington 99 Plains Road/Fairview Street (Toronto-bound only)
Burlington 100 Highway 403/Highway 407
Burlington 101 Brant Street (Hamilton-bound only)
Burlington 102 Guelph Line (Halton Road 1)
Burlington 105 Walkers Line
Burlington 107 Appleby Line
Burlington - Oakville Boundary 109 Burloak Drive
Oakville 110 Service Road (Hamilton-bound only)
Oakville 111 Bronte Road (Halton Road 25)
Oakville 113 Third Line
Oakville 116 Dorval Drive
Oakville 117 Kerr Street (Hamilton-bound only)
Oakville 118 Trafalgar Road (Halton Road 3)
Oakville 119 Royal Windsor Drive (Toronto-bound only)
Oakville 123 Ford Drive, Highway 403 (Toronto-bound only)
Oakville - Mississauga Boundary 124 Winston Churchill Boulevard (Peel Road 19)
Mississauga 126 Erin Mills Parkway/Southdown Road
Mississauga 130 Mississauga Road
Mississauga 132 Hurontario Street
Mississauga 134 Cawthra Road (Peel Road 17)
Mississauga 136 Dixie Road (Peel Road 4)
Toronto 138 Evans Avenue/The West Mall
Toronto 139 Highway 427, Browns Line (Hamilton-bound only)

Former Interchanges (on section redesignated in 1998)

External links


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