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Updated: Mon, 04 Aug 2014 17:10:00 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Burlington Skyway Toronto-bound lanes to reopen tonight



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

The Toronto-bound lanes of the Burlington Skyway are expected to reopen some time between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET Monday night after a dump truck damaged the bridge's structure last Thursday, Ontario's Ministry of Transportation said Monday afternoon. 

Crew have been completing temporary repair to the steel and pavement of the bridge over the weekend, and more permanent repairs are needed over the coming months, said Astrid Poei, the ministry's communications co-ordinator. 

The permanent repairs will take place overnight to lessen the impact on traffic but will require lane reductions, Poei said. 

A truck with its bucket raised slammed into the overhead steel trusses and girders of the bridge on Thursday, causing extensive damage and forcing the closure of the Toronto-bound lanes.

Over the weekend, crews removed the two trucks stuck on the bridge, the scaffolding and the damaged steel, Poei said. The damaged pavement has also been replaced with new asphalt. 

A temporary beam was installed to replace the damaged beam. A permanent beam should be ready to install in two months. 

Located at the western end of Lake Ontario, the Burlington Skyway is a crucial link between the Greater Toronto Area and the Niagara Peninsula. On average, 75,000 cars go through the Toronto-bound lanes of the bridge daily. The crash and its aftermath also slowed down traffic in the opposite lanes because of "visual distractions," Poei said.

To make matters worse, the August long weekend is one of the summer's busiest time for highway travel. Carloads of visitors — many from the U.S. — use the bridge to get to Toronto's annual Caribbean Carnival.

Driver charged

No one was seriously injured in the crash.

The driver of the truck was arrested at the scene and taken into custody.

Sukhvinder Singh Rai, 34, of Brampton, Ont., 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. He is scheduled to appear in a Hamilton court on Aug. 22, police said.

He has been released from custody.

When asked who would be responsible for the costs, Poei said that would be determined after the court hears the charges. 

"If found guilty, the liable party will have to cover the cost related to damages to Crown property," she said. 

Poei said she does not yet know the costs of the repairs but said it is "in the thousands."

"We should not speculate, but it is not a cheap endeavour," she said. 

On mobile? See a map of the bridge here

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