Downtown ramp off EB Gardiner closes Monday

The eastbound Gardiner Expressway ramp to York-Bay-Yonge in Toronto on Feb. 8 2017. CITYNEWS  Cristina Howorun

The eastbound Gardiner Expressway ramp to York-Bay-Yonge in Toronto on Feb. 8 2017. CITYNEWS Cristina Howorun

Just when you thought traffic in the city couldn't get any worse.

The off-ramp from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway to York, Bay and Yonge Streets closed for good on Monday.

As part of the ramp work, crews will widen Harbour Street to four lanes between Lower Simcoe Street and Bay Street, to accommodate vehicle traffic and improve access to the waterfront for pedestrians and cyclists, according to a city news release.

"This is a big undertaking".

"But the Gardiner is crumbling and we need to address it."

During construction, Harbour Street will be reduced to two lanes of traffic in the area and there will be periodic closures of the centre lane on the street from Lower Simcoe to Bay street between May 1 and June 15. Motorists will also be able to access the eastbound Lakeshore Boulevard from the eastbound Gardiner ramp at Spadina.

During construction, traffic signal timing on alternative routes will be adjusted to minimize congestion, and motorists will have access to downtown by exiting the eastbound Gardiner at the Jameson Avenue, Spadina Avenue and Jarvis Street ramps. The replacement ramp is expected to open in January 2018.

Work will take place Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m.to 7 p.m. and sometimes overnight, pending city approval.

City officials say the existing ramp is more than 50 years old and must be replaced.

Lane reductions are already in place on Wellington Street from Church Street to York Street. The City of Toronto said about 130 kilometres of road will be resurfaced this year, along with 310 kilometres of sewer and watermains.

The work will cost $30-million to complete and includes renovation of the Harbour parkette located directly below the off-ramp.

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