Detour of 501 Queen streetcar to continue into December due to water main work

The Toronto Transit Commission is warning riders that the Queen streetcar will not return to its normal route until early December due to the replacement of a water main.

TTC streetcar riders are frustrated, skeptical of when work will be done, but taking it in stride

A TTC customer prepares to board the 501 Queen streetcar. The 501 will not return its regular route until early December when water main replacement work is expected to be completed. (CBC)

The Toronto Transit Commission is warning riders that the Queen streetcar will not return to its normal route until early December due to replacement of a water main under the road.

The water main replacement, from Bathurst Street to Spadina Avenue, was scheduled to be finished in early October but the completion date is now December 3rd. 

TTC riders say they are frustrated and skeptical of when the work will actually be done but trying to take the detour in stride.

Work on the water main means the 501 Queen streetcar, and the 301 Queen night streetcar, will continue to run on diverted routes. The 501 streetcar has been rerouted around the water main replacement work since May.

"It's very frustrating," TTC customer David Stanley said Tuesday. "The time it takes you to get there, sometimes it's fast and sometimes it's slow. Sometimes they come and sometimes they don't."
David Stanley, a TTC customer, says the continuing detour of the 501 Queen streetcar is "very frustrating." (CBC)

The city says delays on the project have been caused by problems testing the water.

Brad Ross, spokesperson for the TTC, said the project is critical infrastructure work.

"We'd love to be able to get the 501 Queen back to its normal routing but this is critical infrastructure work that the city has to do," Ross said.

"We all have to play our part and the TTC is doing that. We will work hard to ensure our customers understand what it is that we are continuing to have to do to get them where they need to go."

Ross said the water main replacement work was postponed until this year due to the Pan Am Games held in Toronto last summer. 

"Last year, we had the Pan Am games and so a lot of construction, a lot of this kind of work, infrastructure work like water main work, had to be deferred."

Ross said he hopes customers understand that the work is beyond the TTC's control. The TTC has added shuttle buses, five to seven during peak hours, three to five during off-peak hours, that run where the streetcar cannot go. The aim is to still provide good service, he said.
Shanelle McLaren, a TTC customer, says she has adjusted to the detour of the 501 Queen streetcar but is skeptical of when the water main replacement work will actually be completed. (CBC)

Shanelle McLaren, a TTC customer, said she has adjusted to the detour.

"The sad thing is you kind of get used to it," she said.

"You're just kind of like 'Hmm alright.' So when I see a date, when they say that's when it'll be done, I don't really believe that's the date."

Corey Marques, another TTC customer, said he is making the most of his extra time on the streetcar. He said it's also important for riders to remain calm.

"It's quite the delay," he said. "You know we're all just taking our time now. So bring a book and do more reading."

According to the TTC, the 501 Queen streetcar diverts on Spadina Avenue, along King Street West to Shaw Street, and back to Queen Street.
Corey Marques, a TTC customer, says there's not much riders can do except try to stay calm. (CBC)

Steve Johnston, spokesperson for the city's engineering and construction services division, said the project is behind schedule because of the need for water quality tests. He said the project includes road construction and resurfacing.

"This project is unique in that there are two water mains under Queen Street, one on the north side and one on the south side. Both are over 100 years old," he said in a statement.

"The main reason for the delayed delivery has little to do with the contractor and their abilities to complete construction, but more to do with delays encountered in obtaining favourable water test results."
The 501 Queen streetcar is continuing its detour into December due to replacement of a water main. (CBC)

With files from Nick Boisvert