Myth: It would be better to keep the eastern section of the Gardiner Expressway up until new transit lines are in place – then take it down.

artist rendering of a busy waterfront street


The Reality: Because of the huge costs involved, leaving the eastern section of the Gardiner up only to take it down later is neither practical nor cost-effective as a solution. Leaving the eastern portion of the Gardiner up is a 100-year, all-in proposition.

The eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway has reached the end of its life – and maintaining its safety beyond the next six years requires that the expressway’s deck be completely demolished and replaced. Any solution will have a lengthy timeline required to implement it, so a decision needs to be made now or we risk having to shut down this portion of the expressway due to safety concerns.

In effect, there is no wait-and-see option. There is no half-way. The advanced age and poor condition of this portion of the highway means that a decision is required. The idea of waiting for new transit lines to be in place before considering taking down the eastern portion of the expressway is, by default, selecting the Maintain option. This would require an immediate capital investment of over $200 million and six years of lane closures and detours due to construction.

To maintain the eastern part of the Gardiner and then take it down once new transit is in place means effectively losing all the benefits from that significant capital investment. Moreover, waiting and maintaining essentially commits the City of Toronto to the full cost of $870 million over the 100-year life cycle of the repaired expressway.