Next phase of Gardiner construction begins March 25

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Toronto is kicking off the next phase of construction this week on the Gardiner Expressway, a three-year project to rehabilitate the roadway from Dufferin Street to Strachan Avenue.

“This is critical work,” Jennifer Graham Harkness, chief engineer, told reporters Tuesday. “The Gardiner Expressway is 60 years old and it’s time for us to make these major repairs. And we’re working to make sure that our contractor operates as efficiently and effectively as possible to get the work done.”

Preconstruction work started in November 2023 and will continue through April 14 when the expressway will be reduced to two lanes in either direction with intermittent additional lane closures as required until work is completed in 2027.

 

The technical advisor on the second phase of Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway rehabilitation says the project will rely on “accelerated bridge construction” to reduce the time and impact of the critical work that threatens to cause major headaches for commuters.

Parsons Corp. said the accelerated technique using prefabricated concrete panels allowed replacement of an 800-metre section of the west deck of the elevated expressway to be wrapped up 27 per cent ahead of schedule in the first phase of the project.

“Rehabilitation of Section 2 will use a similar accelerated construction approach to the rehabilitation work completed for Section 1,” said the Virginia-based infrastructure technology provider, which is also acting as the City of Toronto owner’s engineer on the second segment.

The firm’s $10 million contract includes conceptual and preliminary design, procurement services, contract administration and inspection for the upgrading of Section 2 of the expressway that connects western Toronto to downtown.

Work is the second stage of a long-term rehabilitation plan being completed in six stages.

Details of the work, which will primarily take place Monday to Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., include:

  • Replacing 700 metres of the elevated bridge surface on the Expressway
  • Rehabilitating the structures underneath that support the elevated Expressway
  • Adding a new traffic management system and streetlights

Other work, including girder removal and replacement, shifting of traffic barriers between work stages and the delivery of materials, may be completed at night.

The rehabilitation of this stretch is complex as the roadway is elevated, very narrow and busy, officials noted. Drivers may not see workers along the Gardiner during road closures, as much of the work will be done from underneath.

In 2026, from May to the end of July, the Expressway will be fully open with no lane restrictions to accommodate the increased traffic anticipated during the FIFA World Cup™.

“This construction is urgently needed to keep traffic flowing and keep our communities connected. The City is committed to completing this section of work to ensure a state of good repair for generations to come as we focus on getting Toronto back on track,” said Mayor Olivia Chow

The first phase of the Gardiner rehabilitation, from Jarvis to Cherry Streets, was completed in 2021. Accelerated bridge construction was used to replace the steel girders and concrete deck with pre-fabricated sections. 

The third section, from Highway 427 to the Humber River, will reconstruct 6.5 kilometres of at-grade expressway, including the rehabilitation of 11 overpass bridges (including Mimico Creek) and four underpass bridges (Kipling Avenue, Islington Avenue, Royal York Road and Grand Avenue). Planning for this section of the project is underway to determine scope, phasing, staging and the construction schedule.

The fourth section will replace 2.2 kilometers of the elevated section of the expressway from Grand Magazine Boulevard to York Street.

The fifth will reconstruct the elevated expressway from Cherry Street to the Don Valley Parkway according to the Hybrid Design as approved in the Gardiner East Environmental Assessment.

The project is being coordinated with several other major projects in the area including Metrolinx’s Ontario Line, the Port Lands Flood Protection Project, Waterfront East LRT, the East Harbour development and the Waterfront Toronto redevelopment of the area.

Finally, the scope of the sixth section of work, from Humber River to Dufferin Street, is pending an engineering evaluation.

 

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