adelaide construction

Another major street in downtown Toronto is about to be torn up for construction

Yet another major street in downtown Toronto is about to get completely effed for a while, on account of construction that, while absolutely necessary, will make life a lot more annoying for many people.

The City of Toronto announced on Friday that it would effectively be tearing up Adelaide Street between Bathurst and Parliament in the coming months to "upgrade critical water, road and cycling infrastructure," as well as to reinstate TTC streetcar tracks in advance of another major construction project (the Ontario Line subway).

Work is expected to take place in phases beginning this Monday, October 24, with localized closures between Duncan Street and Bay Street.

This particular round of construction along Adelaide is expected to finish sometime during the spring of 2023, though the city noted in a media release on Friday that this could vary "depending on progress."

"Lanes may re-open during winter months and close again for finishing touches when weather warms," reads the release. "Local businesses in this area will be open as usual and pedestrian access to businesses around the site will be maintained."

Drivers are being asked to avoid travelling through active construction zones on Adelaide, as traffic will be heavily restricted to facilitate the work.

According to the city, sections of the east-west thoroughfare will be reduced where work is taking place to just one lane of shared traffic — as in shared between vehicles and cyclists, which really sucks for the scores of cyclists who use Adelaide's primo bike lanes to commute.

Sucky as this news may be, the project is actually pretty cool in that everything will be done at once while the street is already torn up — which makes a lot more sense than the practice of shutting down major intersections for track work, only to rip them up again a few years later to install new watermains.

"The project, in coordination with the TTC and Metrolinx, bundles several construction needs on Adelaide Street into one project to complete the work as quickly as possible and minimize prolonged disruption," writes the city.

Contractors are expected to do all of the following on this "bundled" job while parts of Adelaide are out of commission:

  • Replace a vintage watermain that's more than 115 years old, and the city-owned portion of substandard water services from York Street to Victoria Street.
  • Renew the roadway on Adelaide Street, from Spadina Avenue to York Street.
  • Reinstate streetcar tracks on Adelaide Street, from Charlotte Street to York Street, in advance of Metrolinx Ontario Line subway construction.
  • Relocate the cycle track on Adelaide Street, from Bathurst Street to Parliament Street, to the north side of the street to improve safety, and install new bike signals.
  • Upgrade pedestrian infrastructure at various locations along Adelaide Street, from Spadina Avenue to York Street, to improve safety.

In terms of timing for when different sections of the road will be busted and traffic restricted, the city has released the following information:

  • On Monday, October 24, there may be some localized closures on Adelaide Street, in sections from Duncan Street to Bay Street, to prepare for the work to begin.
  • Beginning Tuesday, October 25, Adelaide Street, from Duncan Street to Bay Street, will be reduced to one shared lane for vehicles and cyclists. There will be a partial intersection closure on Adelaide Street at Simcoe Street, with no through traffic south of Adelaide Street. Construction on the stretch between Duncan Street to York Street is expected to be completed by the end of November.
  • Beginning Thursday, October 27, the intersection of Adelaide Street and University Avenue will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Anticipated completion of this work is before Tuesday, November 15.
  • Beginning the week of Monday, November 7, Adelaide Street, from Widmer Street to Duncan Street, will be reduced to one shared lane. Adelaide Street will have partial intersection closures at John and Duncan Streets with no through traffic south of Adelaide Street.
  • Once work on Adelaide Street from Duncan Street to York Street is complete, Adelaide Street, from Spadina Avenue to Widmer Street, will be reduced to one shared lane and there will be partial intersection closures at Peter and Widmer Streets with no through traffic south of Adelaide Street and no access to Charlotte Street from Adelaide Street.
  • Adelaide Street, from Bay Street to Victoria Street, will also be reduced to one shared lane for watermain replacement and upgrades to cycling infrastructure. The City will share timing details of this work once confirmed.

For the sake of locals living along Adelaide, we should hope that this major construction job is the last one needed along the street for a long, long time.

According to the city, work — which can be incredibly loud – is expected to take place from 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., Monday to Friday, "with work after hours and on weekends as required."

Lead photo by

Dominic Bugatto


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