The City performs a number of maintenance and rehabilitation activities every year on the Gardiner Expressway. Over the past decade, the City has spent nearly $75 million on Gardiner repairs and maintenance. Starting in 2013, the City has embarked on an extensive rehabilitation plan for maintenance of the roadway.
Keeping the expressway in a state of good repair is critical. The roadway is a key element of the city's transportation system which sees people and goods travelling in and out of the city every day. That's why Toronto council has approved about $900 million be allocated for roadway repairs over the next decade.
Current and planned repair work
Strachan Avenue repairs
Rehabilitation activities on the Gardiner Expressway will consist of the following:
- Visual inspections and controlled chipping
- Ground penetrating radar (GPR) and detailed condition survey
- Bent repairs and temporary bracing
- York Street to Jarvis Street rehabilitation contract
- Jarvis Street to Don Roadway interim repairs
- Deck replacement at Strachan Avenue
- Falling concrete incidents
Standardized inspections of the Gardiner Expressway are conducted every two years, to comply with Ministry of Transportation standards. The inspections assess the condition of the various components of the expressway. Visual inspections of the underside and fascia of the structure are conducted twice per year. These visual inspections guide the city's controlled chipping program where crews use equipment to remove potentially loose pieces of concrete cover from the sides or underside of the structure.
In 2012, work was conducted on the Gardiner using a Road Map Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) platform. The inspection results have not shown that any areas that are unsafe. The road map GPR survey was completed over several evenings during off-peak hours to minimize disruption to the travelling public.
The work, which was completed in November 2012, surveyed the entire elevated portion of the roadway including all access ramps from east of the Dufferin Street overpass to the Don Valley Parkway ramps. The survey also included the elevated portion of Lake Shore Boulevard over Spadina Avenue.
The interim results of the GPR are consistent with the City's observed condition of the roadway. The inspection results have not shown any areas that are unsafe.
Based on the GPR results and information from other sources, the roadway and associated ramps that have been found in need of priority repair are as follows:
- east of Cherry Street to west of the Don Roadway
- west of Jarvis Street to just east of Cherry Street
- east of Strachan Avenue to mid-way between Bathurst Street and Spadina Avenue
- east of Strachan Avenue to the CNE GO Station
The information above is a preliminary assessment subject to revision as further information becomes available. In addition, a detailed survey to check the condition of the roadway will be completed in the spring of 2013. This information, combined with other observations will be used to prioritize future repair work on the expressway.
Bents are the main supporting columns and beams on the Gardiner Expressway. Repairs to bents are conducted on an ongoing basis, with repairs to all 342 bents completed over an approximate 30-year cycle. Designs for repairs to five bents west of Strachan Avenue are currently being initiated, with repairs planned for the fall of 2013. In addition, work is underway for the design of temporary timber bracing that will be installed at approximately 10 locations west of York Street. Once the designs are completed, work crews contracted by Transportation Services will install the bracing.
Rehabilitation work is ongoing on the Gardiner Expressway from Jarvis Street to York Street. This work includes road rehabilitation as well as further cover concrete removal as warranted as well as repair of all segments that have experienced previous falling concrete incidents. The work will extend the life of the roadway this location until 2029, with only minor maintenance work during that period.
Between Jarvis Street and the Don Roadway, the Gardiner Expressway is the subject of an EA study examining options for the expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard.
In January 2013, City Council directed the City and Waterfront Toronto to restart the Environmental Assessment for the Don Valley Parkway to Jarvis Street section of the Gardiner. As a result, staff is recommending that the originally planned rehabilitation is postponed until the EA is completed and its conclusions are approved by City Council. In the interim, some urgent repairs will be completed in 2013 and this section will be regularly inspected by City engineers.
With the restart of the EA in the eastern portion, design is now underway to advance the rehabilitation of the Gardiner from Strachan Avenue to the Exhibition GO Station. Work will begin March 2014 and will take approximately two years.
An EA study recently completed and approved will yield significant improvements to traffic flow and safety between Park Lawn Road and Highway 427, including the Kipling and Islington interchanges and their intersections with Evans Avenue and The Queensway. For more information on this, visit the project page here.
Deck Replacement – west section of expressway
The work, which will begin in April, 2014, includes replacement of the main deck of the F.G. Gardiner Expressway between the CNE and Grand Magazine Street and the demolition of the Garrison Road Bridge under the expressway east of Strachan Avenue. For most of the time during this closure, one lane of traffic in each direction will be closed. It is expected that this will be completed in December 2016, but all traffic lanes will be restored for the Pan Am Games (from June – August 2015).
Rehabilitation of three bridges
The work includes structural rehabilitation of three bridges along expressway between the Humber River and Park Lawn Road. During this closure, one lane of eastbound traffic will be closed while all westbound lanes of the expressway in this area will be maintained. The work includes median replacement and retaining wall repair between bridges. Work is expected to be completed in Spring of 2015.
In August 2012, the City hired IBI Group, an outside consulting firm, to review the City's maintenance practices after several incidents of concrete falling from the underside of the Gardiner Expressway.
The report included four main recommendations. The City's response to these recommendations is included here:
- Initiate a strategy to investigate, prioritize, and repair and/or replace the deck of the roadway over the entire length of the expressway.
- The development of a comprehensive Strategic Plan for the rehabilitation of the entire expressway, which will be the basis of all spending on the Gardiner starting in 2014.
- Confirm existing information by carrying out comprehensive, in-depth investigations throughout the length of the elevated expressway.
- Detailed visual inspections and Ground Penetrating Radar surveys of the entire expressway were completed in December 2012.
- The results of these comprehensive investigations will be confirmed by further detailed roadway surveys in key areas covering about 10,000 square metres of the elevated expressway during May/June 2013.
- Establish an Expressway Management/Maintenance Group with sole responsibility for the Expressway
- The Strategic Plan for the rehabilitation of the Gardiner Expressway will be delivered through a long-term program that will be done by a consulting engineering firm.
- Until such time as comprehensive repairs are carried out, provide protection against falling concrete in the form of a physical barrier in high-risk public areas.
- The City's proactive controlled chipping program, confirmed by IBI as an effective tool to minimize the risk of falling concrete, will continue through 2013.
- High-risk areas, such as in the vicinity of the Exhibition Place GO Station, are being secured by City staff to prevent public access where necessary.
- Future needs for protective barriers in advance of comprehensive repairs will be identified and put in place. While no such barriers have been installed on the elevated Gardiner Expressway to date, wire mesh protective barriers have been installed on the westbound Lake Shore Boulevard underpass of the Gardiner Expressway at the Humber River in advance of the rehabilitation of this structure, currently scheduled for 2014.
Here is the F. G. Expressway, Falling Concrete Independent Assessment Report (PDF) from IBI Group.
The Gardiner Expressway is a 50-60 year old structure. There is the potential for pieces of concrete from the underside of the structure to become loose. However, while these incidents are serious, it must be noted that they are in no way an indication that the roadway is not structurally sound.
After several concrete falls were recorded from the Gardiner Expressway in 2012, the City enhanced its inspection and controlled chipping program. The table below summarizes the calls received by the City per year since 2012 alerting of incidents of fallen concrete:
* as of May 3, 2016
Safety is the city's number one concern. When incidents have occurred, we have addressed them immediately and we continue to be vigilant and proactive in inspecting the Gardiner to minimize the risk of falling debris.
As a result, it is the City's intention to minimize the risk with the continued controlled chipping program.
Approved Rehabilitation Phasing
Revised Rehabilitation Phasing
Additional information on the Strategic Plan for the Rehabilitation of the F.G. Gardiner Expressway is available here.
|Revised F. G. Gardiner Rehabilitation Strategy ($Millions)||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020||2021||2022||10 Year Total||2023||2024||2025||13 Year Total|
|Program Management Sub Project Total:||2.3||5.2||5.7||6.6||6.7||6.9||7.1||7.2||7.4||7.6||62.7||7.8||6.9||7.1||84.6|
|Elevated Portion (Including Bent Repairs)|
|East Deck – interim repairs||9.1||9.1||9.1|
|West Deck (Strachan Avenue)||0.6||30.8||34.2||65.7||65.7|
|Remaining West Deck and Bent Repairs||1.4||34.6||35.5||36.4||37.3||145.3||145.3|
|East Deck and Bent Repairs||38.2||39.2||40.2||117.6||41.2||35.2||36.0||230.1|
|Elevated Portion (Including Bent Repairs) Sub-Project Total||11.1||30.8||34.2||34.6||35.5||36.4||37.3||38.2||39.2||40.2||337.7||41.2||35.2||36.0||450.1|
|At-Grade Section (427 to Dufferin)|
|At-Grade Section Sub-Project Total:||6.3||10.4||8.9||9.1||9.4||9.6||9.8||10.1||10.3||10.6||94.6||10.9||11.1||11.4||128.0|
This funding plan was approved by Toronto Council in January 2013.