The City of Toronto opened the replacement eastbound exit ramp from the Gardiner Expressway to York, Bay, and Yonge streets on Sunday. Councillor Jaye Robinson, Councillor for Ward 25 Don Valley West and Chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee was joined by Mayor John Tory to open the ramp connecting the expressway to ground level at Lower Simcoe and Harbour streets. The project was completed on time despite encountering several problems including an early winter and storm sewer system issues on Harbour Street.

Gardiner off-ramp to Lower Simcoe, York, Bay, and Yonge, TorontoLooking west to new Gardiner exit ramp, image by UT Forum contributor Razz

The project began in 2016 seeing construction on the new ramp’s foundation and substructure. Development continued into April 2017, when the existing ramp was closed and demolished. The new ramp is much shorter than the forked ramps it replaces, with Harbour Street widened from three to four lanes to handle the new traffic it now takes to York, Bay, and Yonge. As it is steeper than the previous ramp, the new exit utilizes an automated anti-icing spray technology to prevent collisions and ice formation. "Investing in Toronto's infrastructure is the only way to ease congestion and to keep traffic moving”, said Mayor Tory. “The demolition of the old ramp has transformed the area and has improved access to the waterfront.”. A video animation has been released to help commuters understand how traffic will flow in the area.

This $30-million project was part of a larger $700-million investment made in 2017 by the City to renew aging infrastructure with an estimated $310 million allotted for roads and bridges, $310 million for sewers and water-mains, and $70 million for basement flooding protection work.

Gardiner off-ramp to Lower Simcoe, York, Bay, and Yonge, TorontoThe new ramp and Harbour Street with lanes open and traffic yesterday evening, image by UT Forum contributor Razz

Construction of a multi-use pedestrian and cycling trail will continue into the summer to provide better access to the South Core, a new local park, the waterfront, and a future extension of Harbour Street to the east. New permanent traffic signals, new curbing on the north side of Harbour Street between York and Bay Streets, and installation of planters and streetscape elements along Harbour Street will all come later this year. "You won't recognize the place, to be honest with you," said Michael D'Andrea, the city's chief engineer.

Aerial view of new park site, image by Forum member jdoe1269

Public consultation is underway for a new park area where the former spiral ramp was located on the east side of York Street. A joint initiative between Waterfront Toronto and the City's Parks, Forestry and Recreation division, the park has a budget of $11-million. Design will take place this year, construction will mostly take place in 2019, completion is expected in 2020.

Images of how the street will look once the trails and landscaping are complete can be found in our database file for the project, linked below. Did you use the new exit ramp on your commute today? Let us know by leaving a comment in the space provided at the bottom of the page, or you can join the discussion, check out additional photos in the associated Forum thread.