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Aging Gardiner continues to deteriorate

TORONTO, Ont. – With the incidents of falling concrete from the Gardiner Expressway, it needs an overhaul, but there’s concern about the cost of the aging infrastructure.

Two westbound lanes of Lake Shore Boulevard East at Lower Jarvis were closed for five hours Monday after concrete fell from under the bridge of the Gardiner to the roadway below. The lanes were shut down mid-afternoon and reopened at around 8 p.m.

City officials said the 10-kilogram (20 pounds) chunk of concrete that fell was part of the outer layer and does not affect the integrity of the roadway.

“The chlorides get into the concrete, the rebar rusts, it expands and pops off the concrete.” said Mike Laidlaw, a senior project engineer with Toronto Transportation Services.

“It’s not a real serious problem from a structural point of view. Obviously from an operational point of view it’s not very desirable. The only danger is the piece falling and hitting somebody travelling by,” he added.

No one was injured in this incident.

The Gardiner is more than 50 years ago, and it’s inspected annually. However, this latest incident of falling concrete is just another sign that the infrastructure isn’t holding up.

Laidlaw told 680News the Gardiner has gone through rehabilitation before and it’s time to do it again, but, that’s going to be expensive.

“Quite a bit of money. For instance, this year, we’re going to be spending roughly about $10 million on the Gardiner doing some repair work to the underside between York and Jarvis,” said Laidlaw said.

It’s the fourth time chunks of the Gardiner have fallen on the road below. The last time was in June 2011 at Bathurst Street, when a five-kilogram chunk fell. No injuries were reported in that incident as well.

The latest federal budget did not offer money for infrastructure, so Councillor Adam Vaughan told the Toronto Star the city may be forced to impose road tolls for drivers.

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