Trips on the Gardiner Expressway will likely get a little longer starting next month thanks to major repair work planned for the busy Toronto artery.
The city says that the Gardiner Expressway will be reduced to two lanes in each direction between Dufferin Street and Strachan Avenue for three years, beginning as early as late March. Additional lane reductions could also be implemented as required throughout the project.
The lengthy lane closures come as the city continues a major strategic rehabilitation plan for the ageing expressway.
The six-part Strategic Rehabilitation Plan was approved by council back in 2016. Its anticipated completion date was 2030. However, the city said a number of factors could push that date back.
“This timeline will continue to be kept under review as implementation moves forward,” the city told CP24 in an email. “Factors, many of which are impacting construction projects around the world, such as supply chain management, material cost and availability and skilled labour shortages, along with the need to coordinate construction across the City to minimize impacts, could all impact the timeline of the full Strategic Rehabilitation Plan.”
The first stage, which saw extensive work carried out from Jarvis to Cherry streets, was completed in 2021. Future stretches include Highway 427 to Humber River; York Street to Grand Magazine Boulevard; Cherry Street to the Don Valley Parkway; and Humber River to Dufferin Street.
Work on the underside of the latest stretch began a few months back in November.
While the timeline for the Dufferin Street to Strachan Avenue section includes the period when Toronto will host part of the FIFA World Cup tournament, the city says the lane restrictions will be lifted for three months from May to July in order to accommodate the games.
The stretch of the Gardiner being worked on passes close to Exhibition Place and city staff say they are coordinating with the appropriate groups around major events such as the Honda Indy and the CNE.
Pedestrian access to the GO Station will be maintained throughout the work and city staff say they are also coordinating closely with Metrolinx to avoid disruptions.
However the project will entail noise and “significant traffic impacts,” according to city staff. Public notices and community meetings are expected to take place in the near future to inform residents.
Work on this section of the expressway is expected to be complete by mid-2027, the city said.
The General Government Committee authorized the city on Oct. 30 to sign a contract with Grascan Construction Limited for the work. That was about a month before the provincial government announced it would take back responsibility for the Gardiner as part of its new deal with Toronto. The upload of the expressway and the Don Valley Parkway are expected to be complete by the end of this year.
“Both the City and Province continue to meet to advance next steps of the Gardiner and the Don Valley Parkway upload,” the city said.