Sunday afternoon, just after those nasty thunderstorms ripped across the GTA, I was trying to drive home on the Toronto-bound QEW from Niagara. (Spent the weekend doing a wine tour.)
Anyway, right around the 78-km marker, traffic backs up and stops. Turns out, QEW had flooded near the Centennial Parkway, at least when the whole disasterpiece got going. (Dried up pretty quickly though.) Traffic starts crawling along, so people start driving down the right shoulder. At about the 81-km marker, a minivan and a Corolla got in a collision. Minivan was changing lanes from the left lane to the centre lane and was at a 45-degree angle to the traffic when it got broadsided by the Corolla. (Nice driving - totalling your cars at 10 km/h.) Then there was a guy in a white pickup truck playing traffic cop by driving on the right shoulder alongside a semi. He stopped the shoulder-runners from getting by, until there was a spot that was wide enough, and several of them went by on the grass.
At the Fruitland Road exit, OPP have the road closed. Okay, fine. So everyone's trying to figure out how to use an off-ramp. Three lines of cars ended up on a one-lane off-ramp, eventually turning into two lines and two lanes... okay then. So then I noticed that the on-ramp at the same exit to the Toronto-bound lanes is open. And people are using it. Fifty feet from the OPP cruiser that had the road closed. Oh well, guess it must be open again. So made a U-turn like most other people and got back on the QEW. Now it's blocked at Centennial Parkway. Same deal: Force everyone to the off-ramp, only to have them re-join the road AT THE SAME RAMP. Rest of the road was open, there were no blockages or flooding, except for the vehicles forcing people onto the off-ramps. Took over an hour to get through.
I guess it begs the question: What was that all for? Don't they talk to each other to let them know the road's open again??
In these situations, manpower is critical to maintaning a blocked hwy, which of course usually is 1 car to block 2 lanes. Then you need another on the on-ramp....as sure as flies like poop, someone will go off do a uturn and come back on. Obviously not enough manpower on this date.
Hwys are closed for collisions and road conditions. Most often road conditions require MTO (or whatever contractor for the area) attend and correct whatever road condition exists. For the safety of those workers we keep it closed until they are completed their task, and the road supervisor calls us back to reopen, usually when all their trucks have left the highway. Then ppl thoughts...there was no need to close the road.
OR just thought of this, in many areas, the road drops under each overpass.....overpasses were built many years ago and many can not accomodate large vehicles without the road drop, the extra road drop in heavy rains would accumulate a good depth of water and a lot of vehicles would lose control at highway speeds.
I forgot one piece of the puzzle: On-ramp had those EDR Road Closed gates but they opened them just as I entered the off-ramp. The MTO/OPP vehicles stayed in place on the road even as they opened the on-ramp gates.
I live in Hamilton and the rain from Friday, Saturday and Sunday caused major flooding in north-east Hamilton - and it did affect the QEW at Red Hill. Residents' basements were flooded with sewage water and a motorist was rescued from an underpass on Kenilworth near Burlington Street. The underpass has been known to flash flood - and someone will die there someday because of it. Parts of the Red Hill Valley Parkway were submerged up to three feet of water. They said that the ground was saturated and the water levels exceeded the 100 year flood levels they build to standard. Hamilton is lacking in updated infrastructure, thus these constant floodings in peoples' homes. The city is offering a $750.00 compassionate grant to those not covered by insurance anymore due to the constant flooding. What a pithy amount for those who are forced to live in a sewage-smelling home.
There's no doubt that there had been flooding on that part of the QEW (and in Hamilton - they had some pictures showing just how bad it got on the Weather Network), but what I'm puzzled over is by the time I got to that part of the QEW, not only had it dried, but they had re-opened the on-ramps, yet kept forcing traffic to the off-ramps in exactly the same spot.
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