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Closure of Gardiner Expressway expected to cause havoc with traffic patterns

Traffic heads up the on ramp at Jarvis St. to join the main flow of traffic on the eastbound Gardiner Expressway on Feb. 25 2014.

Fred Lum/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

This weekend's traffic headaches will just be the tip of iceberg for Toronto drivers as massive construction projects get underway on the Gardiner Expressway, one of the major arteries for commuters attempting to go laterally across the city.

With the major road closed to drivers from 10:00 p.m. Friday evening to Sunday at noon, traffic around the downtown core is expected to be even more congested thanks to a three-game Toronto Blue Jays series against the Boston Red Sox and the annual Sikh Kalsa Day celebration Sunday morning that starts at the CNE grounds and parades down York and Queen to Nathan Phillips Square.

Things will only get worse from here with more construction and repairs to bridges along the Gardiner expressway happening until December 2016, with only a break for the Pan Am games next summer.

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After this weekend, two lanes– one heading east and another heading west – of the expressway will close from the CNE to Grand Magazine Street for median repairs, according to the city's website.

The city previously suggested tearing down the roadway all together, which would save taxpayers millions. The Globe reported that tearing down the expressway east of Jarvis would cost $470-million, while maintenance of the fermenting roadway would cost around $870-million.

Toronto City Council voted to defer the vote to February 2015, saying the decision was too important to rush. Mayor Rob Ford and Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly have both opposed demolishing the Gardiner.

The city says the construction plans on the Gardiner are likely to add at least 30 minutes to commuting times. Many of the roads commuters could take in lieu of the Gardiner are closed or under repairs as well in the midst of a city-wide construction boom.

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