The Gardiner Expressway's Yonge-Bay-York off-ramp has been demolished, and as traffic lines up to exit at Spadina or Jarvis, quick work is being made of the new replacement ramp that will carry Downtown-Toronto-bound traffic off the eastbound lanes of the elevated highway at Lower Simcoe Street. We last checked in on the progress of this infrastructure upgrade just over one month ago, when structural steel was being installed for the new ramp's road deck. In the time since, the first concrete slab sections have been put in place, as well as the concrete abutment structure marking where the ramp will touch down at Lower Simcoe.

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

The new 215 metre-long ramp is being built by the team of Grascan and Torbridge Construction, with Grascan in charge of constructing the road deck, while the actual bridge elements are being handled by Torbridge. Construction of the new ramp is expected to continue through August, to be followed by the installation of an automated de-icing system in September, necessary due to the shorter ramp’s steeper grade. The first installation of this type of de-icing system in Canada was on Highway 401’s eastbound flyover to Highway 416 northbound in 2000, significantly reducing collisions on that ramp. This will be the first application of this technology in Toronto. 

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

The final steps in the project involve the widening of Harbour Street to four lanes plus significant improvements to the streetscape, including new cycling infrastructure, and enhanced sidewalk conditions. At a cost of roughly $30 million, approximately one third of the project is being funded via Section 37 community benefit funds secured during the planning and approvals process of the nearby Sun Life Financial and Harbour Plaza Residences complex.

Space for road widening and streetscape improvements, image by Forum contributor drum118

The greenspace through which the spiral off-ramp to York Street used to descend was torn up during the ramp's demolition. Trees were protected, and the supports for the ramp have been preserved. Once construction equipment is no longer needed on the site, it will be turned over to Toronto Parks Forestry and Recreation. A new park here is still to be designed, with a public art component to be chosen, the winning artist able to work with the old ramp supports.

Future park space at York and Harbour, image by Forum contributor Irishmonk

We will keep you updated as the project progresses. 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.