It is by now a familiar sight for residents of Leslieville: The intersection of Queen and Leslie Streets being torn up for TTC streetcar work. It’s the third time in six years that this 60-metre stretch of Leslie between Queen Street and Eastern Avenue is under construction – and it may not be the last.
The TTC began working on the concrete bed that underpins the streetcar tracks on May 13. Crews are repairing to the stretch Leslie between Queen and Eastern Avenue. They may also repair a small section of Leslie Street north of Lake Shore Boulevard, time permitting. The repairs are scheduled to be completed by May 24.
Residents are frustrated with the construction, which is happening between 7 a.m. and midnight and involves heavy jack-hammering. They’re also wondering why this section is being torn up only a few years after the TTC did major track work in the area.
In 2013, TTC first tore out the tracks at Queen and Leslie Streets to upgrade them for new streetcars, which would be housed at the TTC’s nearby Leslie Barns. The work was supposed to be done in fall 2014. That was pushed to spring 2015, but that deadline also came and went due to errors by the construction company.
Information gathered at the construction site indicates that the current fix might not last. The TTC says it’s replacing the broken concrete with asphalt – something the source warns may only last a few years.
The TTC tells CityNews it’s still trying to determine why the concrete is crumbling, and says the use of asphalt is merely a temporary fix.
“We’re investigating the root cause of the issues with the concrete,” the TTC’s Hayley Waldman said in an email to CityNews.
“We used asphalt in another area south of Lakeshore last year and it has proven effective in reducing similar noise concerns. It is a temporary fix while we continue to investigate the root cause of the concrete issues.
“Asphalt is the quickest way for us to solve the problem and provide relief for the community, and allows us time to investigate the underlying issue to find the best possible long-term solution.”
In May 2015, the TTC discovered that contractor, Pomerlau Construction, had improperly laid the track’s concrete foundation and installed the tracks nine inches too high, delaying the project by several months.
The cost also skyrocketed: From an initial estimate of $14 million, to $105 million when the intersection re-opened in August 2015.
The TTC says the cost of the current round of construction will be absorbed in the general maintenance budget.
At the time of the original construction, the TTC opened a community office and worked to keep residents updated on the construction. They said the reasons for the delay included colder than normal winters and the challenges of replacing 100-year-old infrastructure.