Burlington Skyway bridge closure: 4 alternate routes to Toronto

The Toronto-bound lanes of the Burlington Skyway bridge closed, but here are four detours for travellers heading to Canada from the United States this holiday weekend.

Bridge closure will last through the holiday weekend

Traffic was slow Friday as vehicles were diverted off the QEW and onto Eastport Drive. The detour was made necessary after a dump truck with its bucket in the elevated position slammed into the Burlington Skyway bridge. (Linda Ward/CBC)

The Toronto-bound lanes of the Burlington Skyway bridge closed, but here are four detours for travellers heading to Canada from the United States this holiday weekend.

On Thursday — a day before one of the busiest travel long weekends of the year — a dump truck tried to cross the bridge with its bucket raised. The resulting crash left a mess of twisted steel girders, forcing the closure of the bridge's Toronto-bound lanes. The driver faces an impaired driving charge and the affected lanes will be closed through the weekend while the bridge is looked over by structural engineers.

The green route takes Red Hill Valley Parkway to the Lincoln Alexander Parkway through to the 403, bypassing the bridge. The red route is the current detour, on Eastport Drive. The black route is down Burlington Street through Hamilton. And the yellow route is the Fruitland exit to Highway 8 to the 403. (Google Maps)

This closure poses a potential problem for Toronto-bound travellers from the U.S.

The Skyway is part of the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), a busy highway that wraps around the west end of Lake Ontario, and links Toronto with the Niagara Peninsula and its border crossings into New York state.

But travellers heading to Toronto, for events including the Caribana festival, need not despair.

Below are four alternate driving routes around the busted bridge. All will be busy this weekend, so drivers should budget for extra time.

Option 1: Eastport Drive

This route is the most straightforward, but will also probably be the busiest detour this weekend. It has an advantage in that Eastport Drive runs parallel but beneath the Skyway, and Toronto-bound QEW traffic is already being diverted this way. The disadvantage is this route includes a lift bridge that is sometimes raised to allow ships to pass. 

Here's how you take this route:

  • Take the QEW  but just before the Skyway bridge, exit onto Eastport Drive (you won't have another choice). Eastport runs below the Skyway and joins the QEW on the other side. It was slow-going on this route during Friday's morning commute, so expect some stop-and-go here.

Option 2: Detour around Hamilton

This route makes an end-run around the Skyway by darting across Hamilton's western edge. This is longer in distance but may be faster in time.

Here's how to do it:

  • Exit the QEW at Redhill Valley Parkway.
  • Redhill Valley Parkway becomes the Lincoln Alexander Parkway —​ stay on this road and merge onto Highway 403. Take Highway 403 East to Toronto. Once you're on the 403, it should be about an hour to arrive in Toronto, depending on Traffic.

Option 3: Burlington Street – Wellington Street – Cannon Street – Highway 403

This route is shorter than the Red Hill one but is mostly on wide one way streets with multiple lanes.

Option 4: Fruitland Road – Highway 8 – Highway 403

This route gets you off the QEW earlier, which means you may avoid some of the traffic there. But it's a long stretch of city driving before you get to Highway 403.