This construction season, with traffic volumes on Toronto’s roads down between 45 and 65 per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Toronto will accelerate as many important construction projects as possible and continue maintenance work to renew aging transportation and water infrastructure, as well as improve some facilities.
City-led construction is considered an essential service by the Province of Ontario and is necessary municipal work to ensure Toronto’s infrastructure remains safe, in a state of good repair, and able to meet Toronto’s needs now and in the future.
This year, the City will undertake construction on more than 550 streets across Toronto, including resurfacing 147 local roads, and upgrading sewers on more than 100 streets to protect basements from flooding, and more.
Overall, the planned construction will make repairs to Toronto’s major and local roads, sidewalks and cycling infrastructure, improve public transit infrastructure, replace and rehabilitate watermains and sewers, and build and improve major water infrastructure that will help improve Toronto’s waterways and stormwater systems.
While traffic volumes are lower, the City is working to accelerate as many projects as possible by alleviating restrictions on roads and intersections during peak and off-peak hours for construction projects and working with contractors on other means and methods to accelerate work and complete these projects within a fast-tracked schedule.
Some of the major projects that will be accelerated include:
• Bathurst Street from Front Street West to Fort York Boulevard, bridge rehabilitation, TTC track rehabilitation resulting in full vehicular road closure, set to begin the week of May 17, 2020
• Bathurst Street from Front Street West to Queen Street West, replacing a 143-year-old watermain
• Church Street at Richmond Street East, replacing a 143-year-old watermain and TTC track requiring a full intersection closure
• Don Mills Bridge over the Don Valley Parkway, bridge rehabilitation and
• Completing the replacement of a 146-year-old watermain on Richmond Street from York Street to Bathurst Street.
In addition, other projects that the City will look to accelerate this spring through working with contractors and advancing the tender process include:
• Midland Avenue from Danforth Road to Lawrence Avenue East, road reconstruction and water service replacement
• Martingrove Road from Finch Avenue West to Albion Road, road resurfacing, sidewalk and curb construction
• Shuter Street from Sherbourne Street to River Street, road reconstruction, sidewalk construction and upgrading cycling infrastructure
• Bathurst Street from Front Street West to Queen Street West, replacing a 140-year-old watermain and
• Ossington Avenue from Dupont Street to Bloor Street West, replacing a 131-year-old watermain.
The City recognizes the unprecedented challenges the COVID-19 pandemic presents to the construction industry and workers. Continuing with the planned projects for this year is important to support the industry and the local and Provincial economy.
Contractors are expected to continue to make informed decisions under the evolving circumstances and follow the guidelines of the Ontario Government and public health agencies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 on construction sites and ensure the safest possible environment for construction workers.
Maintenance on roads, bikeways and sidewalks will also continue to keep people safe. City crews continue to perform daily pothole repairs and have made more than 12,000 pothole repairs in April. In addition to daily repairs, pothole blitzes are being planned for three Saturdays throughout May to keep roadways safe and in a state of good repair. Other essential maintenance activities will continue to be performed throughout the construction season, including localized repairs to roads and sidewalks, bridges, grass cutting and street sweeping. It is also anticipated that annual spring maintenance on the Gardiner Expressway will take place from 11 p.m. on May 29 until 5 a.m. on June 1, closing
the entire expressway from Highway 427 to the Don Valley Parkway.
Since March, the City’s work zone coordination team has been actively meeting with private contractors and utility companies to help accelerate their work by approving more than 600 rush hour exemptions and extending work hours which also supports worker safety. The work zone team has also continued to monitor active sites to ensure public safety while also planning for future construction.
During construction, the public are advised to plan their travel in advance, consider alternate routes, be aware that street parking may be impacted, obey signage around work zones and be patient while traveling in and around work zones throughout the city.
Individuals are encouraged to use the City’s web-based map, toronto.ca/roadrestrictions, to help plan travel and avoid road closures.
Information about the City’s planned capital construction work is available at toronto.ca/inview.
“Despite the current challenges we are facing with COVID-19, this is an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate as many of the City’s major planned construction projects as possible as we kick off our summer construction season. This is another example of common sense action the city is taking during the pandemic to help as much as we can.
And while the vast majority of residents continue to adhere to the advice to stay home, I am committed to getting this work done and getting it done as quickly as possible so it’s ready for all our residents and businesses when we come out on the other side of COVID-19.”
– Mayor John Tory
“This year’s construction season presents a rare opportunity to complete work in the city during a period when not many people are travelling on our roads. I recognize the disruption this may cause to those who are staying home but want to emphasize how important this work is to renew infrastructure that so many of Toronto’s residents and businesses rely on. The City will continue to make efforts to minimize the impact of construction as much as possible.”
– Councillor James Pasternak, York Centre (Ward 6), Chair of the Infrastructure & Environment Committee
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