Years-long construction on and around the Gardiner Expressway begins today. Here’s what you should know

Drivers will lose access Tuesday night to a busy ramp on the eastern end of the Gardiner Expressway as the city begins work on a years-long project to realign the aging highway and redevelop roadways in the area.

The city will permanently close the Logan Avenue ramp at 9 p.m. as part of the initial phases of its expansive Gardiner Expressway Rehabilitation Plan. The dual on-and-off ramp will then be torn down, and other work completed, during a series of weekend closures on Lake Shore Boulevard East that are expected to last through November.

Once the ramp is removed, the Lake Shore bridge over the Don River will be widened and lengthened. The upgraded bridge will have space for bike lanes and pedestrian paths, the city said in a news release last week.

It will also allow for the naturalization of the mouth and southern stretch of the Don River, a key part of Toronto’s plan to mitigate flooding in the face of more extreme weather events, it added.

“Every effort has been made to reduce construction impacts for the project,” the release said, though residents can expect some dust, noise and traffic congestion.

The majority of “noise-generating” work, though, will be done from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Work outside of those hours will be limited to clean up, beam removal and “general non-crushing activities,” the city said.

The following closures and changes will be put into place on weekends through September and October:

  • Lake Shore Boulevard East closed from Cherry Street to Carlaw Avenue.
  • Westbound Gardiner can be accessed from Jarvis Street.
  • Don Roadway closed between DVP and Commissioners Street – No access permitted to DVP. Access will be via Eastern Avenue and Queen Street.

From the city’s website: ‘This map shows the available routes during the weekend closures. A detour around the Lake Shore Boulevard closure is via Parliament Street, Front Street/Eastern Avenue, and Carlaw Avenue.’ (City of Toronto)

Then in November, work will begin on improving Lake Shore Boulevard East between Don Roadway and Carlaw Avenue. It is expected to continue until sometime in 2024.

The city does not anticipate that crews will need to close Lake Shore Boulevard East again once the Logan Avenue ramp has been demolished.

According to the news release, modelling shows that once work on the ramp removal is finished, most drivers impacted by the change will choose to use Lake Shore Boulevard instead of the Gardiner Expressway. 

“Given this, the project will keep two lanes eastbound and one lane westbound open on Lake Shore for the duration of construction,” the city said.

“The recommended alternate route for drivers travelling eastbound on Lake Shore Boulevard East is to follow Cherry Street north to Eastern Avenue eastbound. For drivers travelling westbound on Lake Shore Boulevard, drivers can also travel north on Leslie Street and westbound on Eastern Avenue.”

From the city’s website: ‘This map shows the detour route to access the DVP from east of Don Roadway.’ (City of Toronto)

The work set to begin Tuesday is part of Toronto’s $2.3-billion plan to rehabilitate the Gardiner Expressway, which was approved by council in 2016 as an alternative to tearing down the highway entirely. 

The project will eventually see new on and off ramps to the Don Valley Parkway built further north, and also new access ramps at Cherry Street.

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