Gardiner Expressway closed this weekend for fall maintenance

The city will close the Gardiner Expressway this weekend from Friday night to Monday morning to conduct annual maintenance.

Annual repair work will run from Friday at 11 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m.

The city says the Gardiner will be closed in both directions between Don Valley Parkway/Carlaw Avenue and Highway 427/QEW. (Talia Ricci/CBC)

If you're planning to drive in Toronto this weekend, be prepared for heavy traffic and delays near the lakeshore.

The city will close the Gardiner Expressway from late Friday night to Monday morning to conduct its annual fall maintenance.

Road work was originally scheduled to take place last weekend, but was delayed due to weather.

Barbara Gray, general manager of Toronto's transportation services division, says like other parts of the city, the Gardiner Expressway infrastructure is aging and has to be refreshed.

"This is the first time we've done a full closure for the weekend since 2016 and this is really critical work for everybody in the GTA who uses the Gardiner, which is a critical piece of our network," Gray told reporters on Saturday.

"This is the most efficient and effective way we can get paving work done and the safest way that we can do it to both protect the travelling public and our employees."

Gray says given the amount of use the Gardiner gets, doing an annual maintenance closure is the most effective and efficient way to get the work done.

The annual repair work will run from 11 p.m Friday to 5 a.m. Monday.

The city of Toronto says the elevated highway will be closed between from Don Valley Parkway and Carlaw Avenue to Highway 427.

Crews will complete the resurfacing of the highway and make improvements to the road.

Mark Mills, superintendent of road operations and Barbara Gray, general manager of Toronto's transportation services division, speak with reporters on Saturday, Nov. 3 about the closure of the Gardiner Expressway. (CBC)

Mark Mills, superintendent of road operations, says approximately 19 kilometres of asphalt on the elevated portion of the Gardiner Expressway will be replaced.

"We'll probably place between 8,000 and 10,000 tonnes of asphalt and the cost for this work will probably be about $2.5 million for the weekend," Mills said.

"So the drivability of this roadway on Monday morning — you'll see a great improvement and hopefully the travelling public will appreciate that."

Mills said crews will also be doing a litany of other maintenance work west of Dufferin Street.

In 2015 and 2017, the city avoided full weekend closures by shutting down parts of the highway over four weeknights instead of the typical weekend.

The city is encouraging residents and visitors to use public transit to get around Toronto.

Service for GO Transit customers travelling on bus routes 16, 21 and 31, which use the Gardiner Expressway, will be adjusted for buses arriving at or leaving Union Station Bus Terminal. 

Drivers can use Lake Shore Boulevard, the Queensway, Bloor Street and Evans Avenue as alternate routes.