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Metrolinx refurbishing six century-old bridges
on Lakeshore West GO line



Since early this month, Metrolinx contractors have been working on a major project to refurbish six century-old bridges on GO Transit’s 01 Lakeshore West line near Humber Bay between Mimico and Exhibition GO Stations.

Crews started working Saturday, September 8 at the 107-year-old bridge carrying the tracks over the mouth of the Humber River. According to Metrolinx, “The structure… is approaching the end of its life cycle and requires some much needed repairs.”

In its blog, The Link, Metrolinx explains further:

“The construction methods and materials date back to the late 19th and early-20th century. Back then, they were part of the Grand Trunk Railway, a major railroad that connected Toronto to Montreal. By 1859, it stretched as far west as Sarnia and as far east as Portland, Maine. By 1869, some considered it the largest railway in the world.

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Images: Sunnyside Historical Society, Metrolinx

“‘It is fascinating to see how bridge construction methods have changed over time,’ said project coordinator Michael Szewczyk. ‘The cleverness of the designers is exhibited by their ability to achieve such complex shapes with such basic structural steel sections.’

“When the bridges were first constructed, large girders that support the bridges had to be manufactured using smaller plates, tighter angles and smaller channels.

“Szewczyk and his team have put a lot of thought and consideration into the historic importance of the existing structures with their work, especially with the design decisions. They’ve chosen to construct the architectural features of the concrete to help preserve the original design aesthetic while rehabilitating the aging bridges.

“‘When we work on a structure like [this], we make a mark in history that will extend long beyond our own lives,’ adds Szewczyk. ‘It is very important that our work is of the highest quality.’”

Humber Bay bridge new construction.jpg

Humber Bay bridge new construction2.jpg

Humber Bay bridge new construction3.jpg

Images: Metrolinx

Metrolinx is replacing and raising the steel spans at the Humber River to bring the structure to a good state of repair, improve the vertical clearance to the river and achieve the benefits of a renewed waterproofing system.

Crews continue working on the project weekends only until December 2. GO is revising service along the line every weekend until then, diverting trains along the 21 Milton line between Union Station and Long Branch GO Station. GO is providing special train service between Union and Exhibition those weekends, but is cancelling all service to and from Mimico.

Meanwhile, the contractors will upgrade five other steel bridges across roadways. They start working each Friday evening and continue until the next Monday morning, requiring the City of Toronto to fully close the road near each bridge.

Metrolinx has scheduled work at:

  • Colborne Lodge Drive: October 12 to 14;
  • Parkside Drive: October 19 to 21;
  • Ellis Avenue: October 26 to 28;
  • Windermere Avenue: November 23 to 25; and
  • South Kingsway: November 30 to December 2.

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Metrolinx says better lighting and clearance under the bridges will help traffic flow and enhance safety for pedestrians and drivers.

Due to the complexity of these projects, crews work each weekend “around the clock”. Expect noise and bright lights overnight.

After crews finish upgrading each bridge, they’ll also set up temporary work zones so that they can continue repairing the structures. The work zones block traffic lanes near each of the roadway bridges:

  • Parkside Drive: September 20, 2018 until October 30, 2019;
  • Colborne Lodge Drive: October 15, 2018 until March 24, 2020;
  • Ellis Avenue: October 29, 2018 until March 25, 2020;
  • Windermere Avenue: November 26, 2018 until March 24, 2020; and
  • South Kingsway: March 11, 2019 until September 20, 2019.