Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,

[URBAN NOTE] "Toronto’s crumbling Gardiner Expressway is in worse condition than we thought"

Matthew Coutts' Yahoo!News article about how the apparently advanced decrepitude of the Gardiner Expressway was hidden by someone--city engineers?--from the elected government is shocking. What, exactly, was going on?

(See also Natalie Alcoba's National Post article.)

Those bothersome chucks of concrete falling from Toronto's elevated downtown highway are the tip of a much larger iceberg when it comes to structural problems surrounding the Gardiner Expressway.

Hidden concerns, hundreds of hazards and the threat of holes being punched through the risen roadway have been exposed in recently-obtained documents, which shed new light on a $500-million request for repairs.

The Toronto Star reports that city engineers fear that nearly half the elevated section of the Gardiner Expressway is quickly becoming structurally unstable. Portions of the 57-year-old structure could be within six years of the end of its life, according to documents obtained by a freedom of information request.

It's a hell of a thing to learn this late in the game.

Slabs of concrete falling from the elevated Gardiner have become a very real concern, highlighted by several instances this past summer.

All the while, city engineers have urged residents to relax, assuring us that falling pieces were superficial and that the road itself remained structurally sound.

That appears to be a directed half-truth. The problem is larger than reported, and the structural integrity of the expressway is far more uncertain.

Global Toronto reviewed more than 2,000 internal documents and emails, highlighting hundreds of threats between 2009 and 2012.

The documents note on two occasions the potential for "punch throughs" — places where a heavy vehicle could punch a hole through the elevated road.
Tags: gardiner expressway, politics, toronto, urban note
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