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Closed Gardiner lanes will open next week

Last Updated Jun 16, 2016 at 6:55 am EDT

The closed lanes of the Gardiner Expressway will open next week – four months ahead of schedule – Mayor John Tory promised Wednesday.

Tory said the Gardiner will likely open on June 25, “give or take a day or two.”

Construction has reduced the Gardiner from three lanes to two between Spadina and Jameson avenues.

Those lanes will open sooner than planned, Tory said, but it comes at a price: $3.4 million for extended hours, more crews, and more equipment.

It’s a “modest price to pay,” Tory said, especially when compared to the lost productivity due to traffic.

Tory said that gridlock forces the city to lose a million dollars a day, whether that’s late deliveries for retail businesses or professionals who charge by the hour but miss appointments because they’re stuck in traffic.

“Over four months, that’s $120 million,” Tory said, arguing the extra money up front was worth it.

Initially, the construction was supposed to last until October. Last year, Tory said it would be done in July. On Wednesday, it was moved up even further.

The entire project was budgeted at $66.5 million. With the $3.4 million cost added, it will now cost $69.9 million.

It’s the second time Tory has approved increased funding to speed up Gardiner construction. In 2015, the stretch of the expressway between Exhibition Place and Grand Magazine Street opened earlier than expected after a $2 million influx.

(To view video on mobile, click here)

Meanwhile, construction is being ramped up on the Gardiner, in order to have all lanes fully opened by June 25.

Starting on Thursday, overnight lane closures will be in effect in order to remove the work zone for the deck replacement between Dufferin Street and Spadina Avenue.

The expressway will be reduced to one lane in both directions between 11 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. each night until next Saturday. The closure times and locations differ on some days. Click here for details.