Toronto ramps up city-led construction projects while traffic remains low
It looks like Toronto will have three distinct seasons this year in light of the ongoing global pandemic: Winter, construction, and supersonic mega-construction.
The City is now fully making good on its plan to "accelerate as many important construction projects as possible" while traffic volumes remain relatively low due to widespread business closures, judging by how many crews are out working in the streets right now.
It's intense and, for many people at home, it's mind-numbingly loud and inconvenient — but better to do all the road work now than when it could inconvenience drivers, heaven forbid!
With so many people staying home to stay safe, there’s less traffic on Toronto roads. #CityofTO will work to accelerate as many construction projects as possible to renew our aging infrastructure so it’s able to meet Toronto’s needs now and in the future. https://t.co/G7vDqFsuQJ pic.twitter.com/aeloUdcusQ— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) May 4, 2020
As announced by Mayor John Tory on Friday, the City of Toronto is "taking a bold and aggressive approach" to city-led construction this year by going hard and heavy right out of the gate.
"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," reads a release announcing the strategy.
The City estimates that traffic volumes on local roads are currently down between 45 and 65 per cent.
Just about the only space taken away from cars in Toronto is existing construction. Space for the folk jammed into condo land on Richmond if they need it. pic.twitter.com/4di28J6DRI— Three Geese Radius (@shawnmicallef) May 4, 2020
Planned construction projects include repairs to major and local roads, sidewalks and cycling infrastructure, public transit improvements, the replacement and rehabilitation of watermains and sewers, and other major water infrastructure improvements.
Between road resurfacing, sewer upgrades and the like, city crews will be working on 550 streets across Toronto this construction season.
In addition to these infrastructure projects, pothole blitzes are planned for three Saturdays throughout May and "annual spring maintenance" will close off the Gardiner Expressway between Highway 427 and the Don Valley Parkway from May 29 until June 1.
.@BradMBradford what provision is being rapidly made to provide for the hazard of construction forcing pedestrians to break #SocialDistancing ? My understanding is that businesses have to 'apply' for mitigation, but I see guerrilla actions already underway by frustrated citizens. pic.twitter.com/wvhXvi0ytU— Warren Huska (@warrenhuska) May 4, 2020
The City hasn't released a full list of all the projects it intends to accelerate this season, though highlights listed in the release include:
We have had so many calls from residents who want construction to stop so they can shelter in place without constant construction noise, as well as calls from workers who don't have enough PPE to work safely onsite #condoscanwait This is not safe @fordnation https://t.co/Yz131ph1qI— Jessica Bell (@JessicaBellTO) May 4, 2020
The City says it has also been working with contractors to advance even more projects by approving more than 600 rush hour exemptions and extending work hours.
"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," said Ward 6 Councillor James Pasternak, Chair of the Infrastructure & Environment Committee, when the news was announced last week.
"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."
Let's hope so, because with the City accelerating its construction projects, and the province recently allowing a whole host of other construction sites to reopen, it's mighty loud in Toronto right now.
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