Gardiner Expressway a safety hazard, survey says

by | Oct 19, 2012 | News

The Gardiner Expressway construction began in 1956, and was completed in 1965 with a total cost of about $103 million. COURTESY WIKIMEDIACOMMONS

By Kelly Snider

The Gardiner Expressway may not be the route of choice for travellers after the release of an independent study on significant safety hazards.

City of Toronto acting director of design and construction, John Kelly,  told Humber News the city hired consulting firm IBI Group to survey the highway. The survey was submitted to the city in September.

The IBI report, obtained by the Toronto Star, said there are concerns with the way city engineers identify problem zones in the underbelly and sides of the expressway.

The report found sizeable cracks, detached pieces, problematic patches, and splitting in six areas where the city originally found no signs of surface deterioration, according to the Toronto Star.

“We did get recommendations from the group to do more detailed inspections,” said Kelly. “One was to inspect parts of the expressway, including the deck, columns, and other important areas, which will be completed by December and these results will be part of a new rehabilitation plan for the entire expressway.”

Kelly said currently $8 to $12 million is spent annually on repairs for the expressway, but more funding is needed.

“After this report we need to accelerate spending, and could be spending as much as $35 million a year over the next 10 years on the expressway.”

Councillor Mike Layton of Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina, and a member of the public works and infrastructure committee, said the deteriorating highway is nothing new to city officials.

“The city does do constant spot checks but it has been several years that pieces of concrete have been falling from the expressway,” said Layton.

Layton said the best thing to do from here is to follow what the experts say is the best solution to fix the expressway.

In 2011, a 15-metre-long concrete slab collapsed from the ceiling of a tunnel along the downtown Ville-Marie expressway in Montreal. No one was killed, however the Quebec government did release alarming inspection reports conducted on the tunnel in 2008 and 2010, reported CTV News.

The Gardiner expressway, which was fully constructed in 1965, carries about 300,000 cars per day, according to CBC News.