Get ready for gridlock.
Toronto will close the Don Valley Parkway in both directions for spring cleaning from 2 a.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. on Monday, between the 401 and the Gardiner Expressway.
The National Post’s Allison Hanes spoke with Bruce Zvaniga, the manager in transportation services coordinating the effort, to find out what motorists need to know: Eight separate types of maintenance will take place during the cleaning blitz. Potholes will be patched, gutters and ditches will be cleared of winter refuse, litter will be collected, guardrails will be repaired, lanes will be swept, pavement will be inspected, traffic cameras will be checked, overhead road signs will be evaluated and bolstered. Some 30 kilometres of new yellow road stripes and 60 kilometres of white markings will be painted. At the peak of the weekend operation, Mr. Zvaniga said 100 to 150 personnel will be at work. New sensors will be installed on the pavement, which alert the transportation department to slowdowns and result in alerts to motorists on overhead message boards. The additional sensors will result in more accurate and up-to-date information for motorists, Mr. Zvaniga said. Other organizations are co-ordinating with the city to conduct their maintenance at the same time. For instance, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation will take the opportunity to repave the on-ramp from the northbound DVP to the eastbound 401. Hydro One will also do basic maintenance of one of its transmission structures, which is installed in the median south of Eglinton Avenue. The question on many motorists minds is why, why, WHY does the city need to close the expressway for an entire weekend? Mr. Zvaniga said while the city realizes this is an inconvenience for drivers trying to get in and out of downtown, it is a matter of safety and a question of efficiency. Trying to clean catch basins, inspect overhead signs and paint road stripes are activities that put city staff at risk if traffic is whizzing by. "It’s the safest way to do this for the workers," Mr. Zvaniga said. If the road wasn’t closed for one all-out blitz, he said lanes would have to be closed multiple times to allow the work to be carried out, resulting in delays anyhow. On the bright side, the weekend closure of the DVP usually means the Gardiner is next. Not this year, said Mr. Zvaniga. The city doesn’t anticipate clearing the Gardiner until September, although it is likely to close it a few times overnight. "We hope not to require a full weekend closure," he said. (Although beware of that coronary-provoking charity cycling event that closes both the Gardiner and DVP in June.)