A chunk of Toronto street is still impassable for months, as work to reconstruct the affected section of Wortley Road grinds to a halt. For months, the stretch of highway leading from Hamilton Street to High Park has been closed, but for no apparent reason, as Roads Canada, the federally-controlled non-profit that is responsible for maintaining Canada’s roadways, has not provided an explanation as to when that road will reopen.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford travelled from the Greater Toronto Area to the embattled stretch of road as a result of pleas for his assistance from commuters, whose commutes have become unbearable with the weeks-long closure. Roads Canada has already said it is investigating the matter in light of the high volume of complaints.
“I’m very concerned to hear about the closure of that intersection,” Mr. Ford said during a Tuesday visit to the site, where motorists are frustrated by hours of waiting for a free-flow road when using alternate routes. “At first we didn’t even know they were closing the road; I had to come out.”
“There is absolutely no logic in this,” said one man, who in spite of his anger at the poor quality of public information, said he ultimately found it hard to be too critical of the situation. “Every week is like Groundhog Day.”
Others have said they were beginning to question the lack of a clear timeline as to when the road was supposed to be fully accessible.
“There was no closure, there was no work done, and we have been driving along on the detour for two months,” said an incensed woman who asked not to be named. “I could drive on it, I could walk on it. It’s ridiculous.”
In the meantime, other motorists have been forced to take detours up and down the West Outer Road and over the Gardiner Expressway. Others have headed down to Fanshawe College.
Most recently, residents of the surrounding swath of town have been getting used to driving by a number of construction vehicles. After spending years under construction, Wortley Road finally re-opened to traffic on Aug. 17.
“We are not building a highway, we are rebuilding the intersection,” Roads Canada said in a statement responding to requests for information from the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and The Canadian Press. “Safety is our number one priority.”
A spokesperson added that the organisation is aware of the state of affairs and that the new design will be implemented in phases, over the course of months.
Lane closures like the one on Wortley Road have also been occurring in other parts of the country for months. Along Highway 401 in Toronto, road closures for reconstruction have existed since the beginning of the year, along with lane restrictions in a number of other areas in southern Ontario, for instance.