The Gardiner Expressway's Yonge-Bay-York off-ramp has been relegated to Toronto congestion history following the removal of the last sections of the spiral ramp that touched down at York Street, and the straight ramp that touched down at Bay. When we last checked in on the project at the end of May, the final elements of the former ramps were being removed, opening up a stretch of Harbour Street that had been cast in shadows for decades. Even before this demolition activity commenced in late-April, construction was underway on the concrete supports, or "bents", that will hold up the new road deck for the shorter Simcoe Street replacement ramp.

Before (R) and after (L) of the spiral ramp demolition, images by Forum contributor Razz

Over the last several days, photos have been appearing in our Forum thread for the project showing the assembly of the new ramp's steel beams from its starting point on the south side of the Gardiner Expressway above Rees Street. As the ramp approaches Lower Simcoe Street, it is gradually being widened to four lanes.

New Gardiner Expressway off-ramp taking shape, image by Forum contributor drum118

Work to form the new ramp is expected to continue through August, and will be followed by the installation of an automated de-icing system prior to adding road surfaces. Due to the truncated ramp length, the steepness of the ramp's descent requires a de-icing system to ensure safe road conditions during the winter months.

New Gardiner Expressway off-ramp taking shape, image by Forum contributor drum118

The removal of the previous ramp has freed up space for major public realm improvements for the South Core neighbourhood. Starting next month and continuing through January, Harbour Street will be widened from the existing 3 lanes of one-way traffic to 4 lanes of traffic from Lower Simcoe to Bay Street. The space previously occupied by the York ramp loop will live on as a redesigned park, with some of the former spiral ramp's supporting bents incorporated into a public art installation.

Future park space at York Street, image by Forum contributor ponyboy

We will keep you updated as the project continues. In the meantime, you can see plenty of renderings of the completed project by checking out our Database file, linked below. Want to share your thoughts? Leave a comment on this page, or add your voice to the ongoing conversation in our associated Forum thread.