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Lane closures to begin next week for Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation work

Click to play video: 'Lane closures begin soon for Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation work'
Lane closures begin soon for Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation work
Major construction work for repairing the aging Gardiner Expressway will begin next week, starting with the eastbound portion of the roadway. Matthew Bingley reports – Mar 19, 2024

City officials say construction work for repairing the aging Gardiner Expressway will begin next week, starting with the eastbound portion of the roadway.

Starting Monday, March 25, officials said only the eastbound side of the expressway will be affected. One lane will be closed in the eastbound direction.

However, Jennifer Graham Harkness, the city’s chief engineer and executive director, said there will also be some “intermittent work which may require the second lane to be closed as well.”

The stretch under construction is between Dufferin Street and Strachan Avenue. It is expected to take at least three years to complete, Harkness said.

The eastbound on-ramp from Lake Shore Blvd, east of Jameson Avenue, will also be closed during this initial phase of the work.

By mid-April, full construction will begin with reducing one lane in each direction “with intermittent additional closures,” Harkness said. The city predicts the work in this second phase will be done by mid-2027.

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“The Gardiner has been in service for over 60 years and it’s at that point where it’s time to make significant repairs,” Harkness said.

“It is at the end of its ordinary life.”

There will be some exceptions for closing the lanes. On the Easter long weekend, Harkness said construction will pause and all lanes will be open from Friday, March 29, to Sunday, March 31, as well as the following weekend, including April 8.

“There’s a lot of work to do in terms of we’re replacing a bridge structure which is really complex. We have to take that bridge structure out, we have to remove the beams, and then put a whole new bridge deck on top. That’s the reason for the time.” Harness said.

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Repairing the Gardiner is a multi-phase project. The first phase was completed in 2021 with a section between Jarvis Street and Cherry Street, Harkness said.

The extensive work being completed in this section is part two of the city’s six-part Strategic Rehabilitation Plan, which was approved by council nearly a decade ago.

In October 2023, the city entered into an agreement with Grascan Construction Ltd. to provide design and construction services for the Gardiner between Dufferin Street and Strachan Avenue.

This agreement came about a month before the provincial government announced it would upload control of the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway from Toronto as part of a new deal to bail out the city.

Harness said on Tuesday it is unclear how that will change the course of work or the planning, as initially laid out by the City of Toronto.

Roger Browne, the city’s director of traffic management and transportation, said work will pause and lanes will be fully open for major events such as the FIFA World Cup, being partially hosted in Toronto, from May 2026 to end of July 2026.

Browne said the city is prepared for the congestion that will come as a result of the major construction on the Gardiner Expressway.

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He said there will there will be traffic diversions, informative signage, traffic agents (paid duty officers) to improve traffic flow, and traffic congestion monitoring that will allow the city to gather information on real-time traffic signal timings and make changes due to the construction work.

“We are also looking at modifying as many as 60 traffic signal timings in the surrounding area to accommodate the potential changes in traffic patterns due to this construction work,” Browne said.

Harkness and Browne both said that there will be significant congestion from the lane closures and advised people to consider “other travel methods” such as taking transit and allowing for extra time to travel.

Browne also noted since the pandemic, there has been “a lot more flexibility in terms of when people start and when people end work” which has also mediated the “pressures on the road network.”

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Click to play video: 'Lane closures to begin March 25 for Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation work'
Lane closures to begin March 25 for Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation work

— with files from Global News’ Ainsley Smith

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