Toronto

Gardiner in desperate need of repair: engineer

The Gardiner Expressway should be renamed the "Dalton McGuinty Expressway" if the province continues to refuse to help repair the crumbling highway, a Toronto city councillor suggests.

The Gardiner Expressway should be renamed the "Dalton McGuinty Expressway" if the province continues to refuse to help repair the crumbling highway, a Toronto city councillor suggests.

Councillor Howard Moscoe regularly expresses his frustration with the province's refusal to fund repairs of the roadway.

He says if the McGuinty government doesn't change its mind, the city should to cancel all repairs, erect a sign that says "Use at your own risk" and rename it after the premier.

City engineers estimate repairs to the western edge of the Gardiner would cost $87 million. The section was the province's responsibility until 1998 and now city councillors are demanding the province take up some financial responsibility for repairs.

"This is a major roadway," said Joseph Condarcuri, an engineer with the city's transportation department. "It is a provincial responsibility. So, can we at least share the responsibility here, even though it runs through our city?"

Toronto city hall will tackle the issue again this week of how to keep the expressway from falling apart.

The section in question is the western part that stretches from the Humber River to Highway 427.

Officials say it's been neglected for years and sections of it are falling into disrepair.

Engineers are especially concerned with the guard rail running down the middle of the expressway, which has been weakened over the years by cars smashing into it.

"At a certain speed and a certain angle, when the car hits it, it's supposed to bounce you back," Condarcuri said. "And at high speeds you can actually go through it, especially if you're a big truck."

In the province's recent budget, the Liberal government focused on transit and transportation infrastructure, mostly in the Great Toronto Area.

It included $1.2 billion to help fund an extension of the Spadina subway line north of the city, to Vaughan. There was also money for bus lines and transit measures to better integrate the GTA's transit system.

However, the province has repeatedly denied requests by the city to fund repairs of the Gardiner, arguing that it is the city's jurisdiction.

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