The city plans to take advantage of light traffic on its roads during the pandemic by starting work on a number of construction projects in the next couple of weeks, Mayor John Tory says.
The projects involve the renewing and improving of aging city infrastructure.
The city says traffic volume on city streets has dropped between 45 and 65 per cent as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.
At a daily news briefing at city hall on Wednesday, Tory said work can proceed more quickly as a result.
“We have identified a number of projects and we are moving forward with those on an expedited timetable so that we can hopefully get much of that work done before the traffic restores to normal levels,” Tory said.
The projects include:
Gardiner Expressway: ramp replacement at Jarvis Street
Starting on Monday at 12:01 a.m., the Gardiner Expressway eastbound on-ramp at Jarvis Street will be closed as work begins to replace it. The ramp will reopen once the project is finished in 2021.
The city said the project is the second-to-last phase of work needed to fix the expressway between Jarvis and Cherry Streets. Sections of the ramp will be removed and replaced with custom built pre-fabricated sections.
During construction, the city is urging drivers to consider alternate routes, such as the eastbound Bay Street on-ramp, Lakeshore Boulevard East, or the Don Roadway to the Don Valley Parkway.
Later this summer, the city says crews will move to the last phase of construction, which involves the replacing of the south half of the expressway deck.
Bathurst Street: bridge and TTC track replacement
From May 25 to the end of December, Bathurst Street from Fort York Boulevard to Front Street West will be closed to all traffic as crews work to fix the Bathurst Street bridge and replace TTC streetcar tracks.
The city says only one sidewalk will be available for pedestrians. Cyclists may dismount to use the sidewalk.
To reduce disruption and to avoid further construction work later, the construction has been combined with two other projects on Bathurst.
Crews will replace a 144-year-old watermain on Bathurst from Front Street West to Queen Street West from June to December and replace the TTC streetcar tracks between Wolseley Street and Dundas Street West from September to October.
Church at Richmond: watermain, TTC track replacement
Earlier this week, crews began work at Church Street and Richmond Street East to replace a 143-year-old watermain. Crews will also replace TTC streetcar tracks in a later phase of construction.
The city said the project should be finished by the end of June.
This first phase of work will involve the replacing of the watermain in the intersection of Church Street and Richmond Street East. The intersection will be reduced to two lanes of traffic and the bike lane will be closed. The city is advising cyclists to merge with traffic on Richmond Street East to proceed through the intersection.
The second phase will replace TTC track and will require the closure of the Church Street and Richmond Street East intersection from early June until the project is finished at the end of June.
During the closure, westbound traffic on Richmond Street East will have to divert at Sherbourne Street and use Queen Street East or King Street East to travel westbound through Church Street.
Crews to work extended hours
“While traffic volumes are lower, these projects will be accelerated by crews working extended hours, the city alleviating restrictions on roads and intersections during peak and off-peak hours, and working with contractors on other potential ways to accelerate work and complete these projects within a fast-tracked schedule,” the city said in a news release on Wednesday.
During construction, people are urged to plan their travel in advance, consider alternate routes, obey signs around work zones and be patient.