If you don’t need to leave town Thanksgiving long weekend, stay put. Roads will be clogged throughout the city as the Gardiner shuts down for annual fall maintenance.

City officials announced the details of the closure, stating it will last from midnight on Friday, October 11 to Monday October 14th (at 5 am).

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According to the city, from 11:59 p.m. on Fri, October 11 until 5 a.m. on Mon, October 14, the Gardiner will be completely closed from the Don Valley Parkway/Carlaw Ave. to Highway 427/Queen Elizabeth Way. The closure accommodates the third phase of construction on the Gardiner which includes new concrete deck and steel girders replaced on the north half of the expressway.

The closure is due to regular annual fall maintenance, though this has also been co-ordinated with plans to set up the work zone for the third phase of construction on the Gardiner, in order to avoid additional closures.

The repairs became an item of city priority when pieces of the aging Expressway started spilling onto roadways, in some cases even damaging windshields. However, that’s not to say Toronto taxpayers are enjoying the $1 billion price tag attached.

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Other maintenance work will also include line marking, overhead and ground sign inspections, pothole repair and crack sealing, mechanical sweeping and debris removal, graffiti removal, catch basin flushing and cleaning, bridge inspections and chipping, flushing of bridge joints, inspection and more.

Beginning Monday, traffic on much of the Expressway will be reduced to two lanes between York St. and the Don Valley Parkway as construction resumes on the replacement of the westbound Sherbourne/ Jarvis off ramp. Expect delays as speeds will also be reduced in work areas.

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Part of the Gardiner Expressway Rehabilitation Strategy, the operation targets “critical work” that needs to get done to maintain the safety of the Expressway that may have been compromised due to the “effects of age, heavy usage, weather, and salt.”

If you absolutely need to visit relatives out of the GTA after the closure, the city recommends routes such as the westbound Gardiner Expressway Yonge-Bay-York off ramp or the southbound DVP to the Richmond St. exit.

Or better yet, leave Thursday.