Construction on 4 aging DVP bridges will mean traffic headaches until October

Tony Smyth/CBC
Lane restrictions on Don Valley Parkway for rehabilitation of four bridges will start the evening of Canada Day and continue in phases until October.

If you feel the DVP already stands for Don Valley Parking lot, then you may want to avoid the expressway altogether this summer. It’s only going to get worse.

Repairs to four major bridges this summer will be done in one hot lump, beginning the day after Canada Day and stretching into the fall.

Rehabilitation work to the bridges over the Don Valley Parkway at Don Mills Road, Spanbridge Road, Wynford Drive and Lawrence Avenue East will have a major impact on commute times due to lane restrictions on the 15 km expressway said Michael D’Andrea, the City of Toronto’s Chief Engineer.

“This came out of a bridge condition assessment, which we would routinely assess the condition of bridges, and these four bridges were identified as needing some rehabilitation work,” D’Andrea said.

“The Don Mills bridge urgently needed to be done this year. We’ve decided to bundle these four bridges into a single construction contract and we’re doing the rehabilitation work concurrently. That means we will have crews working on the four bridges at the same time.”

D’Andrea says doing all four at once will reduce the overall impact of the work and the cost.

“We could have just settled on working on the Don Mills bridge, and then over the next few years have come back again to impose traffic restrictions to rehabilitate the other bridges.”

But although the work is planned for the lower traffic volume summer months, D’Andrea says the downside is there will be lane and ramp closures, and more traffic congestion.

“It’s going to have a have a huge impact. What our advice would be to drivers who routinely use the DVP is to plan their trips accordingly and consider using alternate routes,” he said.

Supplied by City of Toronto
Michael D’Andrea, Toronto’s Chief Engineer, says a decision was made to bundle four bridges into a single construction contract.

The construction on the DVP bridges will be completed in two phases, but two lanes in each direction will always remain open throughout peak travel times.

From July 2 to mid-August, two median lanes on the DVP northbound and southbound will be closed from Don Mills Road to Lawrence. Some of the work will only take place overnight from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m., but some will be done 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In early August, two lanes northbound and southbound on the DVP will be closed overnight for eight nights at the Don Mills Road Bridge. In late September, there will also be overnight closures for 10 nights on one northbound and southbound lane on the DVP at Don Mills Road Bridge. During this time, the southbound Don Mills off-ramp will also be closed as the on-ramps and off ramps of the bridges will be periodically affected.

Philip Lee-Shanok/CBC
Like any 60-year-old, the Don Mills Road bridge over the Don Valley Parkway is beginning to show her age. Of the four bridges being repaired it’s in most dire need.

“Most importantly for us is to be patient. We are working as quickly as we can to get the work done,” said D’Andrea. “So, plan your your travel accordingly, and again, be patient. We want to make sure that both you the travelling public, as well as our workers are kept safe.”

Topping up the fluids in his car is what Gord Mitchell plans to do. He says getting around the city can be challenging at the best of times so he plans to leave himself extra time this summer.

“Anytime you’re in a hurry you get very stressful and that’s when people make mistakes and do stupid stuff.”

Philip Lee-Shanok/CBC
Gord Mitchell plans to leave himself extra time this summer.

And that caution may be helpful in what looks like Toronto’s busiest construction season yet. More than 600 roads will be under construction this summer, as Toronto spends a total of $1 billion on road resurfacing, bridge repairs, expressway rehabilitation, as well as sewer and water main improvements.

“If you have to drive, take your time, put the tunes on and relax. We’re all in the same situation,” said Mitchell.

Source: CBC News