Not any more

More delays after Dufferin jog completion

In Canada on August 4, 2010 at 08:39

National Post Graphics

End of the Jog

The city’s push to complete an underpass that will eliminate the so-called Dufferin Jog by September means area residents can expect a further six months of costly construction sometime in the next few years.

Crews are nearing completion of a five-year, $40-million project to build an underpass that will rejoin two sections of Dufferin Street, just north of Queen West, that were divided more than 100 years ago by railway lines. No longer will southbound drivers, cyclists and pedestrians need to head around the block at Peel Avenue to rejoin Dufferin below Queen.

Included in the project is room for three additional railway lines, but a 2009 Transit Environmental Assessment reported that a fourth track would be needed to handle future traffic, which is expected to include trains linking Union Station to Pearson Airport.

As a result, Metrolinx requested that the underpass be expanded to accommodate a fourth line on the bridge above.

Jim Shaffner, the City of Toronto’s senior project engineer, said he designed an expansion that would have supported the extra rail line, though it would have delayed the opening of the underpass by two months.

The City has chosen to stick by its original completion date, meaning the fourth line will have to be added at some point in the next few years, requiring six months of work and significant traffic disruption.

“It is our desire to complete this work by September,” Mr. Shaffner said. “It’s a commitment we’ve made to the residents in this area, the city and to city council. I get my authority from a chain of command which starts at city council and the councillors so we have a very strong system of municipal government. My mandate was to make sure that what the city tendered gets built in the time that the city wants.”

Danny Carlos, project superintendent of the site, said it would be cheaper and faster to add the fourth rail line now since there is no traffic running through the tunnel.

“People still use the Dufferin Street Jog,” he said. “Once the Jog is eliminated and the traffic passes through the structure … the formwork for the roof would have to be supported from below, interfering with the roadway.”

Significant disruptions will likely occur, agreed Mr. Shafner, with two curb lanes being closed for construction.

Adam Giambrone, Ward 18 councillor, defends the decision to delay the fourth line. “The community has been through a lot of construction and it’s time to take a break.”

He equates the decision to the Toronto Transit Commission providing subway access year-round while long-term maintenance is done during off-hours.

Gord Perks, Ward 14 councillor, blames Metrolinx, the provincial transportation agency.

“I think it’s been typical with how Metrolinx operates: You never quite know what they need to do and the story is always changing,” he said.

Eli Malinsky, who has lived one block north of the construction site for 3½ years with his wife, is disappointed with the turn of events.

“It’s an unfortunately too-typical example of bad planning and shortsightedness,” said Mr. Malinsky, 35.

“I think we’ve lived some 80-plus years with that Dufferin Jog and two months’ delay seems a lot more sensible.”

Metrolinx is moving forward with its Georgetown South Corrdior expansion that will see 16 bridges modified, four overpasses and two underpasses built. And for the time being, Metrolinx has dropped efforts to extend the bridge.

“We’ve decided that if we’re not going to get it in now, we’ll just wait until the service demands it,” said Stephen Lipkus, Georgetown South Project executive director.

National Post



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