gardiner expressway

Gardiner Expressway lane closures are already causing gridlock on other Toronto roads

The dreaded closure of multiple lanes on Toronto's Gardiner Expressway has begun, and it appears the traffic jams that have erupted as a result are even worse than expected, only a few days into the years-long shutdown.

Motorists were given fair warning about the remediation work taking place between Strachan and Dufferin on the thoroughfare, which some 140,000 people use daily.

But as the primary of only a few key routes into and out of the city from the west, it is understandable how many drivers planned to continue to rely on the Gardiner, even if they knew it was set to be a nightmare.

The snarls have already become unbearable, though, with gridlock over the last few days on not only the expressway itself, but virtually all surrounding roads.

It's prompted some to vow to simply avoid the city altogether.

People stressing about the closures are wondering how they will fare with construction so often overtaking so many other streets in and around the city, especially during the summer months when things are generally busier as people head out to enjoy the weather and various events.

"The Gardiner is already terrible, but during summer? Omg, AND with Lake Shore being closed like half the time too? A mess!" one person vented on X this week.

"Every alternate route is also under construction," another added.

One brought up the forthcoming World Cup, with games taking place at Toronto's BMO Field, directly adjacent to the freeway.

Others are simply wondering how the government allowed a three-year long closure of such a key artery to take place, and for so many millions and without a proper traffic management plan, to boot.

As one person wrote, "Three days in any other country would be suspect. Who accepts a three year construction schedule? Are we building 10 Burj Al Arabs on the Gardiner?"

And though many commenters on social media are just telling people to take transit, some have safety concerns over recent acts of violence on public transportation in the city, and are also pointing to how the closures have made the buses more sluggish, too.

While the Province is increasing GO Transit service around the GTA starting later this month, GO buses are sure to get stuck in the traffic mess, with some already predicting — and experiencing — problems.

The TTC has already been fielding complaints relating to the closure, telling one rider waiting for a bus that "there is a major delay due to the Gardiner Expressway down to one lane both ways due to construction."

"This will continue to be an ongoing issue due to the overflow of traffic until the Gardiner Expressway construction is complete," the Customer Service social media account told the customer.

Some residents are also stressing about potential strikes affecting the TTC and/or GO. Hundreds of GO staff were told by their employer, Alstom, that they won't be permitted to take any vacation days until next year, which customers fear could cause issues.

Others argue that public transit isn't always realistic or accessible for everyone.

The solution that an overwhelming majority have offered online this week is for people outside of the city to just suck it up and take the GO Train, which will soon be running far more frequently along the Lakeshore East and West lines that parallel the Gardiner.

One in the city limits said she is planning to just bike everywhere come summer, while another outside of them simply said, "between the gas prices and the Gardiner construction, downtown will never see me again."

Lead photo by

Geo Swan/Flickr used for illustrative purposes

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