Public Works and Government Services Canada

Public Works and Government Services Canada

March 17, 2009 11:00 ET

Government of Canada Announces Infrastructure Investment in Burlington, Ontario

BURLINGTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 17, 2009) - The Government of Canada is investing in key infrastructure projects across the country and making a positive contribution to our nation's economy. The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, on behalf of the Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced funding for the repair and restoration of the Burlington Lift Bridge.

"With the unprecedented infrastructure funding included in the Government's Economic Action Plan, we are able to move quickly on critical projects like the Burlington Lift Bridge," said Minister Finley. "At the same time, we are creating badly-needed local jobs, stimulating economic growth, and restoring confidence during difficult times."

"This government is making the most significant infrastructure investment in terms of size and speed in over half a century," added Minister Finley. "Our goals are to have shovels in the ground and people with jobs as quickly as possible, without sacrificing fairness, transparency or accountability to taxpayers."

Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is the custodian of the Burlington Lift Bridge located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario at the entrance to Hamilton Harbour. Marine traffic in the Burlington Canal averages 6,000 commercial vessels and pleasure craft per year, and the average daily traffic over the bridge is 10,000 vehicles. The project will prevent rusting and loss of structural steel on the bridge, ensuring the continuing health and safety of pedestrians, commuters and mariners. The work will guarantee the bridge's lifting and load bearing capacity, and allow for its ongoing operation for years to come.

The Government of Canada is investing $12 billion in new infrastructure funding for roads, bridges, broadband Internet access, electronic health records, laboratories and border crossings across Canada.


The Burlington Canal Lift Bridge is located on the western shore of Lake Ontario on a site rich in history. The canal, opened in 1826, connects the Hamilton Harbour industrial region to international trade and commerce. It was among a series of waterway projects begun, 200 years ago, to provide navigation from Lake Erie to the Atlantic Ocean. Today the Burlington Canal remains a busy waterway and is vital to the area's commerce.

There have been five successive moveable bridges located on this site since 1830. The present bridge was opened in 1962 and carried two lanes of vehicular traffic across the canal and tracks for the Hamilton - Northwestern railway. The tracks were removed in 1982 when the road was widened to four lanes.

The bridge structure is a tower driven, vertical lift, moveable bridge. The lift span is 116 metres long, weighs 1996 tonnes and has a vertical lift of 33 metres. A system located in the towers contains machinery, sheaves and wire ropes, that are used to move the lift span. There is one 150 horsepower drive motor in each tower to supply power to the machinery and one 150 horsepower motor in each tower to synchronize the drive motors.

The St. Lawrence Seaway navigation season usually runs from late March to late December. During the winter shut down, bridge staff overhauls the tower drive gear and performs other maintenance work.

Since 1962, the bridge has been operated more than 166,380 times, allowing the passage of over 250,000 vessels. On a yearly basis, the bridge will operate approximately 4000 times allowing approximately 6500 vessels, including more than 1000 cargo-carrying vessels, to pass through the canal. The bridge lifts on-demand, 24 hours a day for all large vessels and on the hour and half-hour for pleasure craft.

The four-lane Lift Bridge provides an alternative ground route between the cities of Hamilton and Burlington for vehicles not wanting to use the Skyway Bridge or to drive around Hamilton Harbour. The average daily vehicle traffic count is approximately 10,000.

PWGSC's contributions to Budget 2009 projects

Budget 2009 commits more than $400 million over two years for PWGSC to accelerate its plans to repair and restore federal buildings and bridges, and to enhance accessibility of federal buildings. This includes more than $40 million to repair federally-owned bridges, including the Burlington Lift Bridge.

As the Government of Canada's main purchaser, real property manager and common-service provider, PWGSC is also supporting the activities of other departments that were identified in the Budget plan.

In delivering on Budget 2009, PWGSC remains committed to value for money, fairness, openness and transparency. The Department will continue its normal due diligence in all of its service delivery.

Contact Information

  • Office of Minister Paradis
    Mary-Ann Dewey-Plante
    Press Secretary
    Office of Minister Finley
    Michelle Bakos
    Press Secretary
    Public Works and Government Services Canada
    Media Relations