City unveils ‘absolutely essential’ road repairs for Scarborough

It’s been said Toronto has two seasons: winter and construction.

With winter at an end, the city recently announced its 2011 plan for road work, including two major projects in the Scarborough area.

Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the city’s public works and infrastructure committee, unveiled the campaign at the corner of Victoria Park Avenue and Ellesmere Road last week.

“While it is critical to keep the roads in good condition, it sometimes can mean delays,” he said. “In order to avoid disruptions, we coordinate our efforts with other agencies, such as utility companies, so that we can keep our disruptions to a minimum.

“We sympathize with motorists as they travel the city, but I can’t stress this enough: this work is absolutely essential.”

Markham Road from Sheppard Avenue to Ellesmere is set to get a simple road resurfacing, while Victoria Park from Hwy. 401 to Finch Avenue is set to undergo a complete reconstruction.

“The road resurfacing is typically called a ‘shave and pave’ — that’s where you just take the top off,” Minnan-Wong said. “Roads can last a really long time and there has to be ongoing maintenance. Doing a shave and pave is a really important part of that.

“The reconstruction is where we go right down to the dirt. We pull out the entire road, the curbs, redo the sidewalks. It’s a major initiative.”

Like Minnan-Wong, Myles Currie, Toronto’s director of transportation services, said he sympathizes with motorists.

“The city is aware of the construction season,” he said. “What we try to do is keep parallel routes in the same part of the city free from construction and utility work.

“Victoria Park will be a challenge, so in this area we will try and keep our parallel routes open.”

Even with neighbouring routes to bypass construction, area resident Fiona Griffith said she’s concerned traffic will be just as bad as last summer, when the southern portion of the road was being worked on.

“Pharmacy is the only [other route] that I can think of,” she said. “But even last summer when we were trying to take alternate routes, we’d get blocked off anyway because everyone else is thinking the same thing.

“The traffic is going to be hectic.”

The city has invested over $130 million into the 2011 road work initiative, with money also going toward filling potholes. According to city statistics, Toronto has filled about 237,000 potholes in the past three years.

For more information about the state of good repair road work program, visit toronto.ca.