Traffic along Lake Shore near Jarvis has Toronto drivers waiting hours

The 500 metre stretch between Yonge and Jarvis Streets takes just seven minutes to walk, but recently, drivers have reported being stuck for up to three hours. Tina Yazdani with details on the work being done, and when there might be some relief.

By Tina Yazdani and Meredith Bond

Downtown traffic along Lake Shore Boulevard East caused by construction has become a nightmare for drivers and the City of Toronto is urging drivers to avoid the area.

The short 500-metre stretch between Yonge and Jarvis Streets takes seven minutes to walk, but in recent days, drivers have reported being stuck there for up to three hours.

The frustration is palpable after the four lanes of Lake Shore went down to one with almost no warning.

“Drivers are advised to avoid traveling on Lakeshore Boulevard westbound, from Cherry Street to Yonge Street, as sections in this stretch are reduced to one lane for utility construction,” read a statement from the City.

The construction being conducted by Enbridge Gas is to replace portions of a 4.5-kilometre gas pipeline along Lake Shore Boulevard between Cherry Street and just west of Yonge Street.

The work takes place 24 hours per day, seven days a week. According to the City, construction between Yonge and Bay Street is expected to finish by the end of the week, but from Cherry Street to Parliament Street isn’t expected to be completed until mid-December.

“The current pipeline, which is nearing the end of its lifespan, provides natural gas to a densely populated area of downtown Toronto, including critical customers such as hospitals and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport,” read a statement from Enbridge.

“While this project received input from stakeholders that included the City of Toronto and the public, we appreciate that interference with local traffic has occurred.”

It’s one of several projects happening simultaneously in the area.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said he had a meeting with officials last week regarding the gridlock. He said they came up with measures he thinks will make a significant difference but added he can’t share them yet.

“I think it is probably the worst area of acute traffic congestion in the city at the moment,” said Tory. “I’ll just say there are some things we’re looking at doing to try and make it better, but the best thing we can do is to get the work done as quickly as possible.”

Stretch of Queen Street from Bay to Victoria to be closed for up to 5 years

Enbridge told CityNews a portion of the road is set to reopen by the end of the week, but Toronto’s traffic nightmare doesn’t end there, with more construction to come.

Starting in early 2023, a stretch of Queen Street from Bay to Victoria Streets will be closed for up to five years to allow for the construction of a new Ontario Line subway station.

The city will install new tracks on Adelaide and Richmond Streets to divert streetcars. That construction is expected to begin shortly.

In a statement, the City of Toronto said it “recognizes the challenges and disruption traffic congestion and construction presents to the travelling public.

“During construction, the public is advised to plan travel in advance, consider alternate routes, obey signage around work zones and be patient while travelling in and around work zones throughout the city,” read the statement.

With the GO Bus station just north of Lake Shore, Metrolinx said the traffic had affected some GO Bus trips, but only adds up to 10 minutes and the majority of trips remain on time.

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