toronto construction

People in Toronto are getting more and more peeved about lanes closed off for no reason

If you're a driver or cyclist in Toronto, you're more than familiar with the fact that summer is the season of seemingly endless construction and roadwork that cuts down lanes, slows traffic to a halt, and makes the city harder to maneouver, among other things.

There's no way around it when work crews are on-site performing upgrades that need to get done one way or another, but it seems that progressively more people are noticing pesky downtown lane closures that appear to be unnecessary, with no progress taking place at all.

One councillor even brought a motion to city council this week on the topic, noting increasing numbers of "unattended road construction sites" that are leading to more complaints from the public.

He is requesting that transportation services step in to review how these sites are managed, ramp up their monitoring and enforcement, and consider implementing penalties for subcontractors who keep lanes closed longer than needed for a job.

"Regular and widespread road construction is necessary for the City’s healthy growth, however when project management results in abandoned construction sites, or unjustified lane closures, it negatively affects traffic plans, safety and commerce," Ward 6 Councillor James Pasternak writes in a new motion titled Addressing Abandoned Road Construction Sites, Unjustified Lane Closures and Delays.

"Numerous constituents [have] concerns over seemingly vacant work sites, sometimes displaying scattered tools, machines, and construction materials... and frequent instances of protracted and seemingly unnecessary road closures. These include lanes on major roads, blocked off by safety pylons, but with little to no sign of active construction."

Concerns include not just headaches for drivers and cyclists, but impacts on emergency responders and the movement of goods and services, increased traffic and speeding on sidestreets, and safety concerns due to potentially hazardous tools and materials left on the scene.

While the motion has now carried, the Ontario Road Builders Association has pushed back on the complaint, telling the CBC that all road closures are for safety reasons, even if it appears that no work is actually being done at the location.

Lead photo by

Suhail Akhtar


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