Spring maintenance has wrapped up on the Gardiner Expressway, but this year, the traffic woes won’t end with the weekend closure.

Long-term construction projects kicked off on Monday, which will result in lane restrictions on the key artery until around 2016.

However, the lanes will reopen temporarily from July 10 to July 26 for the 2015 Pan Am Games and then shut down again.

The concrete barriers are already in place from the Humber Bridge to just west of Spadina Avenue. Commuters who were used to three wide lanes will now have to squeeze into two lanes.

Toronto police Const. Clint Stibbe told 680News that motorists can expect a slower-than-normal drive on the expressway.

“I’m going to suggest [construction will] at least double if not triple your commute. It’s almost become the normal,” Stibbe said.

TTC spokesperson Danny Nicholson suggests TTC riders taking streetcars and buses in the downtown core should also give themselves more time.

“As a result of the various construction projects, there’s a lot of extra vehicle traffic on the downtown roads, so of course, our buses and streetcars operate primarily with traffic as well,” Nicholson said.

Current closures

The eastbound Gardiner is reduced to two lanes from Park Lawn Road to just east of Humber until December 2014.

The eastbound and westbound Gardiner is reduced to two lanes from east of the Humber to east of Strachan Avenue until December 2016.

Also, the Lake Shore Boulevard ramp to the westbound Gardiner is closed just west of Windermere Avenue. It’s expected to reopen at 5 a.m. on Tuesday.

A series of overnight closures were scheduled to take place on the eastbound lanes between Humber and Carlaw Avenue from Monday to Thursday, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on each night; however, the city said on Monday that they were “no longer required” due to the work completed on the expressway during the weekend closure.

Gardiner projects

Transportation services GM Steve Buckley said the three Gardiner projects are:

  • Structural rehabilitation of three bridges on the Gardiner between the Humber River and Park Lawn. This work is expected to be completed by 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.

GO Transit said the Gardiner closures starting on April 28 may delay buses by up to 30 minutes during peak hours on routes 16, 21 and 31. Click here for GO service updates.

Drivers can stay up-to-date on construction details and updates by visiting the City of Toronto website.

Upcoming construction can also viewed on the T.O. INview map.

Meanwhile, a crash on the Gardiner near Jameson Avenue led to more traffic slowdowns on the expressway. Below is a viewer photo:

gardiner-closures

An emergency vehicle attempts to navigate around the traffic on the Gardiner Expressway on April 28, 2014. Ryan Bruneau/viewer photo.

With files from Carl Hanstke and Showwei Chu