Toronto warns of busy road repair season ahead
Mayor David Miller says be prepared for one of the more active road construction seasons in years, as the unseasonably warm spring means crews can get a jump on potholes.
Since Jan. 1, crews have already fixed 51,000 potholes. "In fact, complaints about potholes are significantly down from last year," Miller told a Monday news conference held on Ontario Street -- something he partly linked to the short, mild winter.
Last year, there were 6,000 service requests filed over potholes. This year, there have been 1,000. If people want action on a pothole, they can call 311, he said.
But the city also has big construction plans for this summer.
"In 2010, the city of Toronto has an ambitious plan to improve the quality of our roads and bridges," Miller said.
The city will be spending almost $330 million on transportation-related work across Toronto, he said.
About $205 million will be directed through the "State of Good Repair" program, which includes work on expressways, bridges, roads, sidewalks and laneways, he said.
Another $45 million is going towards special projects such as the elimination of the Dufferin Jog at Queen Street, he said.
The final $80 million goes to other road work linked to watermain and sewer replacement, he said.
"This year, the amount of work on our roads was increased as a result of the federal government's stimulus funding initiative," which contributed $60 million and will allow the city to do significantly more work that it traditionally can, Miller said.
"In fact, this year, we are almost doubling the amount of investment in our roads," he said.
Last year, the city repaired 250 lane-kilometres. The goal this year is 400 lane-kilometres, he said.
Miller pointedly thanked the feds for "keeping their word" -- an apparent shot at the Ontario provincial government, which announced in last Thursday's budget it would be delaying $4 billion in funding for several Transit City construction projects.
"For transit, we're working very hard to get the provincial government to keep its word," he said.
"There's no way we're going to accommodate the population growth, estimated at a million people over the next 20 years, without Transit City. You simply won't be able to get around Toronto 20 years from now without Transit City," he said.
A study conducted for the Toronto Board of Trade and released Monday found the average GTA round-trip commute to be 80 minutes, which is the worst among 19 major cities.
“Toronto’s commuting problems give rise to serious congestion issues,” the report noted, according to the Toronto Star.
Miller noted the city will be playing host to some major events this summer:
- the G20 summit
- the Shriners' convention
- the Canadian Open Golf tournament
Along with that, there are the usual Toronto summer festivals. "But this year will be very, very busy," he said, adding the city has full information on its website on construction and event-related delays.