Why a partial road and sidewalk closure is key to keeping everyone moving during Bloor bridge reconstruction

Rebuilding a bridge that spans over one of Toronto’s busiest roads is challenging. To keep traffic flowing, Metrolinx will implement a partial road and sidewalk closure of Bloor Street West while crews demolish the south abutment of the Bloor bridge. This work is part of the Davenport Diamond Guideway project. Find out how it will unfold in the coming weeks.

It’s no secret – there’s going to be a lot happening at Bloor Street for the foreseeable future.

The replacement of the Bloor Street West rail bridge between Lansdowne Avenue and Symington Avenue is a major component of the Davenport Diamond Guideway project. Metrolinx is building new infrastructure to support future two-way all-day train service on the Barrie GO line and the reconstruction of this bridge is an important piece of the puzzle. 

Back in November 2020, the west half of this bridge was demolished. If you missed it, you can catch up on all the action here.

Now it’s time to build up the new bridge, starting with a whole new foundation. And that begins with demolition of the south abutment and sidewalk.  

Image shows a tractor working
Here is the excavation at the Bloor Street bridge – south abutment. (Metrolinx photo)

To support the future Bloor Street bridge, the existing concrete bridge ends – known as abutments – on which the bridge deck rests, need to be replaced. That means demolishing the existing abutments, installing structural caissons and building new cast-in-place concrete abutments.

A crew works inside a hole by rail tracks
Excavation at the Bloor Street bridge – south abutment. (Metrolinx photo)

It also means demolishing the south sidewalk from the centre line of the existing bridge to the end of the handrail towards the west.

Image shows the bridge
The south abutment of the Bloor Street bridge. (Metrolinx photo)

The abutment is on Bloor Street West – next to the sidewalk and close to the road. In order to demolish it safely, Metrolinx needs to isolate the work from people and traffic with a partial road and sidewalk closure.

Bloor Street West, between St. Helens Avenue and Ruttan Street, will be partially closed for the duration of this demolition work, which is expected to begin in early to mid-July and last until sometime in August. Here are the details:

  • The south side of Bloor Street West, including both the roadway and the sidewalk, will be closed and traffic will be shifted to the north side.
  • Access will be maintained on the north side with one traffic lane in each direction and the north sidewalk open.
  • Motorists and cyclists will share the road.

While Bloor Street West remains open, Metrolinx advises everyone to plan ahead and build in extra time for travel as there could be delays and congestion, especially during peak hours.

Image shows a map
Here’s a map of the partial road and sidewalk closure on Bloor Street West. (Metrolinx image)

Barrie GO trains are still running on the east half of the bridge, while the existing bridge foundation on the west half is being demolished. The concrete abutments that are currently holding up the east half of the bridge – and the track – will eventually need to be replaced as well.

The coming weeks will bring much needed equipment to carry out this important work – drill rig, crane, excavators with breaker attachments, loaders, dump trucks, and concrete trucks and pumps.

Most of the work will take place during the day between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. and over some weekends. The occasional late night or overnight shift may be required, and Metrolinx will notify the nearby residents in advance.  

For more information on the Davenport Diamond Guideway project and to get the latest updates, sign up for our Toronto West weekly e-blast here or follow us @GOExpansion.

You can also connect with the community relations team at TorontoWest@metrolinx.com.

Story by Teresa Ko, Metrolinx communications senior advisor