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Parts of Queen Street in downtown Toronto set to close for 4.5 years due to Ontario Line construction

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Metrolinx has announced it will be closing a major segment of Queen Street in downtown Toronto for four-and-a-half years in order to facilitate the building of the new Ontario Line subway.

The provincial transportation agency coordinating the building of the 15-stop, 15.6-kilometre line running between Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue East and Exhibition Place confirmed it will be closing two parts of the corridor as of early 2023: Queen Street East between Yonge and Victoria Street, and Queen Street West between Bay and Yonge streets.

Anne Marie Aikins, a spokesperson for Metrolinx, described the closure as “fairly limited” but noted it is “significant.” Metrolinx staff said by closing the road fully, the move will allow work at Queen station to be accelerated by more than a year and will allow for opening the subway line nine months earlier.

Read more: Public consultations set to begin for Ontario Line’s East Harbour, Corktown station sites

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“The Queen Street station on the Ontario Line is going to be our most significant and important interchange with the TTC system, so it’s really important that we build it,” she told Global News Tuesday morning.

“You cannot avoid building and the impacts of building in this corridor, that’s the reality of it.”

During the closure, which is expected to last until 2027, cars and trucks won’t be allowed in the affected sections of Queen Street. However, pedestrian access will be kept all throughout the construction work and Aikins said Metrolinx staff are currently planning on some sort of dedicated cycling corridor.

The closure will also mean a long-term diversion for the TTC’s 501 Queen streetcar line, one of the agency’s most busy lines. Aikins said the rerouting of streetcars will add approximately five minutes of travel time.

Read more: Feds invest over $10B to help Ontario fund 4 major transit routes in Toronto

Westbound 501 Queen streetcars will be detoured south on Church Street, west on Richmond Street, and north on York Street. Eastbound 501 Queen streetcars will travel on a restored southbound rail connection on York Street, east on Adelaide Street and north on Church Street.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green told Global News in a statement staff will be ramping up its communications with riders on the delays.

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“The reality is that building transit infrastructure in a dense urban area is always going to have some impact on existing service and we will continue to work collaboratively with the City and Metrolinx to ensure impacts on TTC services and inconveniences to our customers are minimized,” he said while touting the benefits of the new streetcar connections on York and Adelaide streets.

“The restored tracks would be used during track construction on King Street and for unscheduled diversions during collisions, disruptions etc., including during the annual film festival. These flexibility benefits allow us to deliver a better service to our customers, both during the Ontario Line construction and afterwards.”

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