City officials are warning motorists to either avoid taking the Gardiner Expressway or exercise an abundance of patience as three major repair projects begin on the crumbling highway next month.

“This work has to be done. It’s going to cause some traffic chaos,” Mayor Rob Ford said during a Friday news conference. “If there’s other ways, carpooling or using [public] transit, I encourage people to do that.”

The Gardiner projects will start on April 26 and coincide with the weekend closure that occurs every spring for maintenance on the highway.

Transportation services GM Steve Buckley said the three projects are as follows:

  • Structural rehabilitation of three bridges on the Gardiner between the Humber River and Park Lawn Avenue. This work is expected to be completed spring 2016.
  • Centre median replacement between Ellis Avenue and Dufferin Street. The work involving new concrete barriers and drainage improvements is expected to be completed this summer.
  • West deck replacement of the Gardiner between the CNE and Grand Magazine Street. The work will be done in two phases. The first phase will begin April 26 and wrap up June 2015 with a pause for the Pan Am Games and the second phase will begin September 2015 and end June 2016.

“During this time we’re going to need to take the Gardiner, through these sections, down from three lanes to two in most sections,” Buckley said. “Transportation services is doing everything in our power to sort of ensure alternate routes will be made as accessible as possible.”

He said the department will try to minimize the duration of bottlenecks by modifying signal routes on the Lake Shore and the Queensway as well as co-ordinate all construction on alternate routes to ensure they’re open during the repair work on the Gardiner.

But he also asked drivers to consider alternate routes and use different modes of transportation such as public transit and carpooling.