"Be aware" - 16-month long York Street lane reductions begin tomorrow

It's one of the main ways to get to the Gardiner Expressway, but a key stretch of York Street is about to get thinner. 

Starting Friday, York St. between Bremner Blvd. and Lake Shore Blvd. will be reduced to one-lane for underground PATH network construction. 

It's slated to stay that way for 16 months. 

"Be aware that that's going on, be patient," said Eric Jensen, city manager of construction coordination. "We are doing everything that we can do to minimize the impact of this." 

The construction will involve building the underground tunnel going across York Street, along with relocating existing utilities. 

The original proposal was to close off the stretch of York completely for an entire year, but with the assistance of city council, it was modified to a longer, half-road closure. 

"In considering York St. is one of our three accesses to the Gardiner for outbound traffic, it was critical to keep a single lane at least functioning full-time to allow motorists to get out of the city," he said. 

Signage for the closure has been up since the start of the week, including on York Street, the DVP and the Gardiner. 

Jensen said drivers should think ahead about using alternate north-south streets such as Lower Simcoe and Bay. 

Work will go from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Friday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. 

There will be no work Sundays or during statutory holidays. 

As for the tunnel itself, it's expected to open to the public in June of 2020. 

"We want this to be done safely, efficiently and we do need to consider the residents," he said. "If we didn't have residential in the downtown core, which we're happy to have, we might've been able to do this on a 24-hour day basis."

"It's a very complex project and safety is paramount."