Concrete falls from aging Gardiner Expressway, shatters windshield

WATCH: A large chunk of concrete from the Gardiner Expressway fell on a van recently, badly damaging its windshield. Dave Trafford reports.

TORONTO – Chunks of concrete seem to have fallen from the Gardiner Expressway on Tuesday, damaging a person’s car, breaking the windshield and sending pieces of glass into the vehicle’s interior.

Ali Siddiqi and his mother were stopped in separate vehicles at the intersection of Lower Spadina Ave. and Lake Shore Blvd. West Tuesday evening. Suddenly, Siddiqi heard a noise that he thought was a car accident.

“While we waited, I just heard a loud bang, and I thought two cars had actually got into an accident because it was substantially shocking, the noise that it made,” he said. “Then I looked back in the rear-view mirror and her windshield had all just come totally smashed in. The glass was everywhere.”

Siddiqi’s mother was uninjured, but the windshield of her Honda Odyssey was destroyed.

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“I was so scared so I closed my eyes,” Huma Siddiqi said. “When I opened my eyes, someone was knocking at my window. There was a pedestrian who came and asked me if I’m OK. I said ‘Yeah, I’m OK, but I’m a little shocked. What happened?’”

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The largest piece of concrete was approximately 30 centimetres long and 15 centimetres wide, Ali said.

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He called 911 and police investigated. No one from the city came to the scene, he said, and he’s worried he’ll have to pay the $300 deductible to get his windshield fixed.

“Nothing happened. Nothing came out of it,” he said. “Nobody from the city contacted us. We just got a police report and that was it.”

Councillor Jaye Robinson said the issue is still under investigation and city crews around working 24 hours a day to make sure the highway is safe. Despite that, she said, the city needs to do a better job of communicating with residents.

“There should have been an immediate response, so we’re looking with staff. We actually made the call this afternoon to say, please, we need to be responsive on these issues.”

It’s not the first time that large pieces of concrete have fallen from the aging expressway. There was a rash of incidents in 2012, and at least one car was damaged as a result.

The city is currently in the first stages of a $500 million rehabilitation of the highway. A Global News investigation in 2013 sorted through 2,000 pages of reports, emails and briefing notes about the highway, which detailed emergency repairs for loose concrete, poor conditions and the possibility of “punch-throughs” in two sections of the bridge deck.

 With files from Dave Trafford

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