WATCH: York-Bay-Yonge ramp to be torn down in April

A major funnel to downtown Toronto will be out of bounds for eight months starting this spring.

Demolition of the York-Bay-Yonge off-ramp from the eastbound Gardiner is set to begin on April 17th.

The aging ramp will be torn down and replaced with a new design - a shorter ramp that will spill highway traffic onto a widened Harbour St, just west of lower Simcoe St.

Mayor John Tory admits the shutdown will create frustration, but he says the new ramp will improve traffic flow off the Gardiner in the long run.

Construction will last until January 2018, from 7 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday.

In the meantime, the 10,000 cars that use the York-Bay-Yonge ramp during the morning rush will instead have to spill on to the Jameson, Spadina or Jarvis exits. Mayor Tory says much of the traffic will probably end up at the Spadina exit, which deals with about 2,500 cars during those peak hours.

The city will try to ease the congestion created by construction by changing the timing of traffic signals in the area. Traffic getting off at Spadina Ave will be allowed to flow onto eastbound Lake Shore Blvd, as the city will lift the gate at that off-ramp that is usually lowered.

The re-design of the ramp also gives the city the chance to improve access to the lakefront for pedestrians and cyclists.

When the old ramp is removed, a new park will be constructed at the southeast corner of York and Harbour Sts.

Trees will be added on Harbour St, and the sidewalks and multi-use trails in the area will be improved.

For more information on the construction and changes, go to the city's website.

(with files from Siobhan Morris)

MORE ON THE TRAFFIC DISRUPTIONS DURING CONSTRUCTION (April 2017-January 2018):

  • Eastbound traffic at intersections along Lake Shore Boulevard (Lower Simcoe, York and Bay Streets) will be closed on selected weekends as needed to complete the demolition/removal of the ramp.
  • Motorists will still have full access to downtown by exiting the eastbound Gardiner Expressway at the Jameson Avenue, Spadina Avenue and Jarvis Street ramps.
  • Motorists will be able to access eastbound Lake Shore Boulevard from the eastbound Gardiner Expressway ramp at Spadina Avenue.
  • Eastbound Lake Shore Boulevard/Harbour Street will be reduced to two lanes from Lower Simcoe Street to Bay Street during the construction period.
  • The ramp from Rees Street to the expressway will be closed during off-peak hours (9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and will open in peak traffic hours during the demolition/removal stage of the work.
  • Drivers are advised to use eastbound and westbound routes south of Queen Street as alternative routes during the construction period. 
  • The Martin Goodman Trail on Lake Shore Boulevard West will be closed from Rees Street to Lower Simcoe Street during this project. Cyclists will be detoured around the work area via Queens Quay.
  • Sidewalks to remain open at Lower Simcoe and York Streets for north/south travel and north side of Harbour street
  • Laneways and driveways that serve businesses will remain accessible for deliveries or service. Pedestrian access to businesses and walkways will be maintained during construction.

The city will demolish the dilapidated York/Bay/ Yonge Gardiner off ramp in April. It’s an 8 month construction project resulting in a shorter off ramp, and more parkland. Are you happy about that?