Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Front and York streets in Toronto: avoid the area. (Darren Calabrese For The Globe and Mail)
Front and York streets in Toronto: avoid the area. (Darren Calabrese For The Globe and Mail)

Big Works

Four Canadian road construction nightmares Add to ...

Montreal

CHAMPLAIN BRIDGE: The six-lane span serves traffic leaving southeast Montreal from Autoroutes 20 and 15 or island-bound traffic from Brossard on Autoroute 10.

WHY Beams are being repaired and replaced after engineers discovered the bridge was in danger of sending drivers into the St. Lawrence River below. The bridge is 57 years old and winter salting has corroded critical concrete and steel.

More Related to this Story

WHEN Most of the work is being done underneath, but nine weekend closings are planned. The final spring construction blitz was last weekend. Six more blitzes are planned for September and October, during which up to four of six lanes will be closed for entire weekends.

HOW BAD The bridge sees 159,000 trips a day, making it Canada’s busiest crossing. Jean-Vincent Lacroix, of Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc., says that the first few blitzes saw travel-time delays of one hour, but subsequent weekend closings have added only 30 to 45 minutes to trips across the bridge. Greyhound has changed its bus schedule to send drivers over the Jacques Cartier Bridge.

Vancouver

BURRARD STREET BRIDGE The southwest end of the bridge, where Burrard Street and Cornwall Avenue come together in an awkward intersection.

WHY The city is replacing bearings and joints on the 81-year-old bridge and simplifying the intersection of Burrard Street and Cornwall Avenue. The project aims to improve safety by reducing the maximum number of pedestrian crossings across Burrard from five to two and by lowering the speed of vehicles that are leaving the bridge and entering Cornwall Avenue.

WHEN Started in August, 2013, and will continue until at least the end of next month.

HOW BAD Karran Finlay commutes from Kitsilano into downtown via the bridge. She says construction costs her an extra 15 minutes each way, even outside of rush hour. She has lately taken to cycling, which gets her downtown faster. The city is trying to encourage people to use the nearby, eight-lane Granville St. Bridge as an alternative.

Toronto

UNION STATION: Front Street is closed in both directions at York Street. Vehicles heading to Union Station or the Fairmont Royal York hotel have to travel west from Bay and do a U-turn to exit. York Street has been reduced by one lane south of Front Street and is closed for a block north of Front. Bay Street has been reduced from four to two lanes at Front.

WHY Crews are adding a second subway platform and a new pedestrian tunnel for the PATH walkway below street level as part of the renovation of Union Station.

WHEN Front Street was first closed in January, 2013, it was supposed to reopen nine months later in October. That has since been moved to the end of 2014.

HOW BAD Limo driver Peter B. (last name withheld) calls the array of construction hoarding a disaster zone and says he schedules an extra 40 minutes when he has to negotiate the area.

Calgary

14TH STREET S.W. All northbound lanes on 14th Street S.W. from 13th Avenue to 10th Avenue are closed. One southbound lane from 10th Avenue to 17th Avenue will be open until the end of June. Turning restrictions involving 11th Avenue and 12th Avenue will be in place. In addition, there will be various lane closings between 6th Avenue and 38th Avenue, weekdays and weekends.

WHY The roadway is getting more than a new layer of asphalt. It’s being reconstructed, which requires the old roadway being stripped away so the sub-base can be repaired before repaving takes place.

WHEN Work began in May and is scheduled to finish at the end of August.

HOW BAD This main artery into southwest downtown sees up to 25,000 cars a day. Or did, when it was open. The spillover effect is slowing north-south thoroughfares to the east and west.

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

Follow us on Twitter @Globe_Drive.

Add us to your circles.

Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

In the know

Most popular videos »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most popular