501 queen street ttc

A Toronto transit project actually just finished ahead of schedule for once

Infrastructure projects in Toronto are notorious for going well beyond their projected timelines, inconveniencing the masses and making the public doubt the optimistic dates we're fed by officials.

But every once in a while, an annoying road construction project shockingly finishes ahead of schedule, and that's just what has happened on stretches of Queen Street East and West that have been warzones of bright orange signs and traffic for months.

An over 2.5-kilometre stretch at the east end of the 501 Streetcar route, between Kingston Road and the eastern terminus Neville Loop, was initially supposed to remain under construction through December, though the TTC has announced work on this stretch wrapped up Monday, an entire month ahead of schedule.

This stretch has been upgraded with improved pantographs, part of the overhead system powering the iconic red and white streetcars.

And that isn't the only stretch of Queen Street that has just reopened to streetcar traffic, with another portion of Queen finishing construction about seven kilometres to the west, part of a multi-phase project to upgrade tracks from Bay to Shaw.

The Queen 501 route from Spadina Avenue to Bathurst Street has reopened ten days sooner than initially anticipated. All of the signs and obstructions had been removed by the weekend, and streetcars are once again running along this busy shopping and dining strip as of Monday morning.

Businesses in these areas are undoubtedly relieved to have a vital transit service back in operation in time for the final holiday shopping rush, while fewer road restrictions mean better access for drivers.

Still, businesses further to the west are expected to suffer through the holiday season, with track replacement work starting this week on Queen from Niagara Street to Fennings Street, planned all the way until December 31.

Beyond this closure, the Queen and Shaw intersection is also going to remain a mess into the holidays as crews work on a total track replacement.

Lead photo by

Jack Landau

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