Friday, October 18, 2019

Empty Gardiner Expressway

The City of Toronto combined fall maintenance and replacement of concrete deck and steel girders to fully close the Gardiner Expressway over the October 11th weekend. During Thanksgiving weekend the shutdown of the important route through the downtown core severely impacted peoples plans - but you can't get away from repairs if you want infrastructure to be safe for public use.

Besides the occasional work crews along the sometimes elevated highway, all the lanes were otherwise emptied of any traffic which would have been great for driving a Honda Indy race car down that open asphalt. 

Here is the City's October 4 press release about the closure.

"The City of Toronto begins another phase of construction to renew the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets. This phase will fully replace the concrete deck and steel girders on the north half of the expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets. To help minimize the disruption to the travelling public, the annual fall maintenance closure of the expressway has been co-ordinated with plans to set up the work zone for the third phase of construction on the Gardiner, which would otherwise result in additional closures.

Weekend closure for planned maintenance work
From 11:59 p.m. on Friday, October 11 until 5 a.m. on Monday, October 14, the Gardiner Expressway will be fully closed from Don Valley Parkway/Carlaw Avenue to Highway 427/Queen Elizabeth Way. Crews will perform important maintenance and improvement work to help keep the highway in the best state of good repair, in advance of the coming winter season.

Examples of maintenance work that will be performed include line marking, overhead and ground sign inspections, pothole repair and crack sealing, mechanical sweeping and debris removal, graffiti removal, catch basin flushing and cleaning, bridge inspections and chipping, flushing of bridge joints, inspection, repair and replacement of crash attenuation systems that help cushion and redirect vehicles from barricades and barriers, repair and re-lamping of street lights, hydro pole replacement and repair, traffic camera inspection and repair, and guiderail repair and replacement.

More information about this work is available at

Reduced lanes on Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets for deck replacement
On Monday, October 14 at 5 a.m., the third phase of construction will begin to fully replace the north half of the concrete deck and steel girders of the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets. During this phase of construction, the Gardiner Expressway will be reduced to two lanes in each direction between York Street and the Don Valley Parkway. This construction will run concurrently with the replacement of the westbound Sherbourne/Jarvis off-ramp.

To maintain safety during the construction, the speed limit on the expressway through the work zone will be reduced and there will be off-peak lane closures on Lake Shore Boulevard so crews can safely remove and replace sections of the expressway deck directly above.

To complete this work faster and to be less disruptive to the public, the City is using an innovative construction technique called Accelerated Bridge Construction to replace the expressway concrete deck and steel girders. This technique involves pre-fabricating the new sections of the expressway, or panels, off site and transferring the new panels into place where existing sections have been removed. This method causes less dust and noise and can reduce construction time by up to 40 per cent compared to traditional methods.

This project is significant given the scale of the work with the added complexities of the work zone located in an urban centre, in close proximity to buildings and over a major arterial road.

Crews will work mostly on a 24/7 basis to accelerate and reduce the duration of construction. Most of the disruptive work should be completed by 11 p.m., however, in some instances disruptive work must be performed overnight for the safety of crews and the travelling public.

Changes to traffic signal timing will be made to enhance traffic flow on nearby routes to help mitigate traffic congestion on and near the expressway.

The section of the Gardiner Expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets is nearing the end of its service life. This vital work is the first project of the Gardiner Expressway Strategic Rehabilitation Plan. The plan addresses the immediate and long-term rehabilitation needs of the entire expressway, from Highway 427 to the Don Valley Parkway, to ensure it remains in a safe and operable condition now and in the future.

The Gardiner Expressway is one of the most significant and used highways for passenger and freight travel in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Through the movement of goods and services, it contributes approximately $1 billion a year to Canada's GDP.

Once the Sherbourne/Jarvis off-ramp has been replaced and the ramp reopened in spring 2020, the westbound Yonge-Bay-York off-ramp will close again so crews can safely replace the concrete deck and steel girders of the expressway next to the ramp. In mid-2020, construction will move to the fourth and final phase, which will replace the south half of the expressway deck and the eastbound on-ramp at Jarvis Street.

Throughout construction, two lanes will remain open in each direction on the expressway deck. Only one ramp will be closed at a time. The entire project is expected to be completed in 2021.

With $1 billion of work planned this year to renew Toronto's aging roads, bridges, expressways, sewers, watermains and more, construction will affect more than 600 roads including the Gardiner Expressway. So far, the City has completed 85 projects across Toronto and constructed approximately 300 km of road lanes, 25 km of sidewalks, 3 km of watermains, 2 km of sewers and 1 km of TTC track.

During this year's busy construction season, the public is advised to plan their travel in advance, consider alternative routes or take public transit, obey signs around work zones for the safety of the work crews and be patient while driving.

More information about this work is available at

Residents, businesses and visitors are encouraged to use the City's web-based map at to help plan their travel and avoid road closures."

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