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Updated: Sat, 02 Aug 2014 13:38:19 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Burlington Skyway crash: Cleanup begins, closure continues



The dump truck (© left)

The dump truck (left) that struck the Burlington Skyway bridge had it's bucket raised as it slammed into the bridge's overhead steel trusses and girders. Ontario Provincial Police

Crews have begun to tow away vehicles that became trapped on the Burlington Skyway when a crash brought down beams from the bridge’s overhead trusses and shuttered its Toronto-bound lanes until at least next week. 

Around 3:40 p.m. on Thursday, a dump truck with its bucket raised was driving on the bridge's Toronto-bound lanes when the bucket struck steel girders located overhead. The collision caused extensive damage, trapping other vehicles that were crossing the bridge.

No one was seriously injured in the crash.

On Saturday, Ontario Provincial Police announced that crews were beginning to remove the vehicles that were trapped. 

That work began on Saturday morning, said OPP spokesman Kerry Schmidt.

“It’s likely going to take all day.”

But the closure won’t end once the vehicles are out of the way. Authorities are still inspecting the damage and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation says the bridge's Toronto-bound lanes will remain off-limits to drivers until at least the end of the August long weekend.

It's estimated that more than 75,000 vehicles drive over the bridge, one of southern Ontario's busiest, each day. 

The ministry and the OPP are trying to spread the word about the closure as widely as possible. A big concern is traffic heading into Toronto for the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival. As much as 25 per cent of the more than 1 million people who attend the festival each year travel north from the U.S., officials says. 

“We are encouraging people to take alternative routes and to expect longer drives time, and to avoid the area if possible,” said Schmidt.

“Hopefully, everyone’s aware of the closure.”

Truck driver charged

The incident has led to charges for the driver of the dump truck that slammed into the bridge. Sukhvinder Singh Rai, 34, of Brampton, Ont., was arrested at the scene and taken to the Burlington OPP detachment for breath tests.

He faces one count of impaired operation of a motor vehicle and one count of blood alcohol level exceeding 80 milligrams while operating a motor vehicle. 

As a result of the charges, Rai's licence has been suspended for 90 days, and he is scheduled to appear in a Hamilton court on Aug. 22, police said.

He has been released from custody. 

Skyway Bridge Toronto-bound lanes closed until further notice

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