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Toronto to spend more than $250-million on road work

Drivers skirt around a pothole while turning onto Hoskin Avenue from Queen’s Park Crescent on Jan. 13, 2014.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Toronto needs to review how it builds its roadways, even as it pours more money than ever into fixing its existing streets, the head of the city's public works committee says.

Road construction season will soon begin in Toronto, with the city warning motorists to expect delays, particularly on major arteries such as the Gardiner Expressway, where lane restrictions will begin this month.

Work will last months in some places and will be particularly felt around Queen's Park, where all the roads leading to and from the legislature will have reduced capacity from June to November.

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"We are going to get to more roads than ever before," Denzil Minnan-Wong, chairman of the public works committee, told a news conference on Monday. "It's going to cost a lot of money. This year, the city will be spending more than $250-million to improve the quality of our roads and our bridges."

As city staff work to fix roads and fill a record number of potholes, Mr. Minnan-Wong said new methods of construction need to be examined to see if they could prevent problems.

He will announce a comprehensive review of the way the city rehabilitates and paves its roads at Wednesday's meeting of the public works committee.

"The road maintenance and rehabilitation plan is in many ways a reactive approach to fixing our roads," the councillor said, standing by construction equipment on Richmond Street. "We need to take a pro-active approach to looking at modern technologies and remedies and solutions so that these potholes don't appear as often."

The review, which will be completed for the next term of council, will look at best practices in cities across North America and Europe. It will look at all areas of construction, including the type of asphalt used and the concrete base, he said.

Also this year, a refurbishment program will see parts of major roads close in various areas of the city. In most cases, according to a city spokesman, at least one lane will be kept open in each direction. But drivers would still be wise to plan their routes around the disruptions.

A total of 185 kilometres of road will be resurfaced this year at locations across the city. Six spots where the work is scheduled to run the longest:

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1) Work on Queen's Park Crescent, the road running between College Street and Bloor Street, looping around the legislature, will start in June. The construction is expected to last until November and will coincide with work on Wellesley Street, which will be tackled from Yonge Street to Hart House Circle.

2) Work is expected to begin in May on Lawrence Avenue, between Kingston Road and Markham Road. In June, work will start on Markham itself, on the stretch from Lawrence south to Kingston Road, meaning that two of the three roads forming the triangular block will be disrupted at once. The projects are expected to end in November and December, respectively.

3) In June, crews will begin work on Finch Avenue, in a project that will stretch more than five kilometres from Dufferin Street to Signet Drive. The work is expected to finish in December.

4) Also in June, work is slated to start on the nearly six-kilometre stretch of Kipling Avenue between Bloor Street and Dixon Road. The project is scheduled to wrap up in November.

5) A short stretch of Bayview Avenue near Highway 401, from Truman Road to York Mills Road, will be worked on from June to December.

6) The intersection of Belfield Avenue and Highway 27 is slated for work starting in June, in a project scheduled to be completed in October. At least one lane will be open through the intersection on each road during the construction.

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Toronto City Hall bureau chief


Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More


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