Driver killed by falling road sign on QEW near Burlington Skyway: OPP

One person is dead after provincial police say an excavator hit a road sign on the QEW in Hamilton, causing it to fall and crush a passing vehicle.

A 46-year-old man from Toronto is dead, say provincial police

Provincial police say one person is dead after their vehicle was hit by a falling road sign on the QEW Tuesday. (OPP Highway Safety Division/Twitter)

One person is dead after provincial police say an excavator hit a road sign on the QEW in Hamilton, causing it to fall and crush a passing vehicle.

The excavator was hauling a piece of equipment and being driven up the highway toward a construction zone near Nikola Tesla Boulevard, says OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt. That's when police believe its arm hit the sign, causing it to collapse.

There's nothing the driver could have done to avoid the sign, said Schmidt.

"This is something I've never seen, particularly with it collapsing down onto traffic, killing an occupant. A very tragic circumstance here," he said.

"Really the driver had no opportunity to react and respond. It happens in a second. You're travelling at highway speed and all of a sudden they're presented with debris and a sign falling right on top of their vehicle."

An excavator in a construction struck the sign, causing it to fall, according to OPP. (Paul Smith/CBC)

A 46-year-old man from Toronto who was behind the wheel of a vehicle that was hit was pronounced dead at the scene, said Schmidt.

Provincial police initially said the victim was from Niagara Falls, but in a tweet just after 9 a.m. Tuesday stated that he was actually from Toronto.

OPP were called to the scene around 12:50 a.m. Photos shared by police showed a heavily damaged SUV-style vehicle with its roof and front end completely crumpled.

A yellow excavator could be seen beneath the overhead sign, which was lying across the roadway that was covered in debris.

"These are very strong, robust signs, but when a heavy piece of machinery collides into it, causes it to buckle and collapse, it loses its structural integrity and unfortunately the entire sign collapsed down onto he highway," said Schmidt.

The highway is closed as police investigate the collision and crews work to remove the excavator and sign.

The Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Transportation have also been notified, said Schmidt.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour confirmed two inspectors have been assigned to investigate.

The company reportedly involved is Eiffage General Contractors Canada, said the ministry.

Effiage's website describes it as a heavy construction contracting company that was incorporated in 2011, with its head office located in Burlington.

The company did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment about the incident.

OPP said they expected to have all lanes reopened around 9 a.m.

Provincial police say all lanes of the highway are closed as they investigate the collision. (Paul Smith/CBC)