Toronto neighbourhood to suffer noise and traffic headaches until winter
Metrolinx is warning that the upcoming widening of a rail bridge crossing Woodbine Avenue between Danforth and Gerrard "will require a lot of construction legwork and patience from the surrounding community," in a prolonged and noisy effort that the regional transit agency expects to last until winter.
Widening of the rail bridge — a new fourth span is being added north of existing tracks — is necessary to accommodate an expansion of the Lakeshore East GO Line as part of Metrolinx's push to bring two-way, all-day, 15-minute rail service to core stretches of its regional rail network.
Work on this portion of the Lakeshore East GO Line Expansion project will begin this spring, with traffic along this stretch expected to be slower due to shifting lanes with reduced width, likely to create bottlenecks on the two-lane stretch of Woodbine.
The first phase of construction will involve work on the centre bridge pier, a network of seven concrete columns supporting the bridge between the northbound and southbound lanes of Woodbine.
Despite the need to bring heavy equipment to stabilize the earth and bridge structure, the centre bridge pier will be extended without the closure of lanes, Metrolinx planning to maintain northbound and southbound traffic throughout.
This is being done at the cost of cyclists' safety and convenience, with bike lanes north and south of the bridge to be abruptly closed during the lane shift, forcing cyclists to either dismount before the bridge or merge with vehicle traffic.
This first phase of construction is anticipated to be completed this summer, setting the stage for the next phase. The summer phase of work will involve construction on the east side of Woodbine, during which traffic will shift to the west side and a temporary pedestrian walkway will be installed as the east bridge abutment is widened.
Work shifts to the west bridge abutment in fall 2022, with traffic to be shifted to the east side of the street and another temporary walkway installed for pedestrians.
It won't just be annoying for drivers and cyclists but local residents as well. Metrolinx plans to do much of the work between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, but overnight work is also planned to take place between the hours of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. from Sunday to Thursday.
An existing mural below the bridge will be maintained, and while Metrolinx admits that "an expanded bridge will have some impact on the existing murals," the transit agency is pledging to "repair, prime and prepare the damaged area for future artwork restoration."
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