The long-awaited diverging diamond interchange is finally open and it’s not nearly as complicated as many people feared.
The third diamond interchange built in Canada, with others in Calgary and Regina, it is designed to increase safety, reduce traffic speed and have fewer conflict points – spots where crashes might happen.
It’s also supposed to be easy to navigate for both pedestrians and drivers.
“It’s supposed to be safer because you’re basically eliminating the chance of somebody making a left turn,” Andrew Bernard of Brennan Paving said at an information session for the project in September.
Cars are meant to seamlessly enter the interchange, and get on and off the highway without hassle, or be able to easily cross over to and from York Road.
A reporter from The Lake Report drove the new road several times over the past week and found that, as promised, traffic on Glendale Avenue easily diverges to the left side of the road through two crossover intersections.
Right now, the QEW’s Niagara-bound off-ramp is closed at Glendale for construction, with traffic being diverted via Mountain Road – or Stanley Avenue off Hwy. 405.
The QEW’s Toronto-bound on-ramp also is closed, with a temporary on-ramp operating from Airport Road, south of York Road. These closures will last for about 60 days.
A good tip: if you’re driving to NOTL from Toronto, take the Niagara Street exit, follow the service road and cross the Homer Bridge on Queenston Street.
Other bridges, like Lakeshore or Carlton, are good options if heading to Old Town or Virgil, respectively.
If you’re coming from Niagara Falls and want to head to St. Davids or Virgil, the Mountain Road exit might be your best choice for now.
Many people have taken to Facebook groups, like NOTL 4 All, to remark about the signage, or lack of it.
It’s important to keep an eye out for the signs, both on the QEW and on the diverging diamond. And follow the line markings on the road.
Something else drivers should be aware of: we discovered while driving the interchange that if the lead vehicle stops too far before the traffic lights and not close to the stop line, the light might not change readily.
Cars were seen waiting extended periods because apparently they hadn’t pulled up close enough for the sensors to be activated.
The $54-million interchange looks daunting while still under construction, but it should be fully operational in both directions by November.
Once road work is completed, construction of a single-lane roundabout at Glendale and York Road will begin. Construction will start this winter and be completed by spring.
By summer of 2023, the roundabout landscaping and site cleanup should all be done.