A busy portion of Queen Street will close for nearly five years as construction continues on the new Ontario Line subway.

Starting May 1, vehicles will be diverted off Queen Street between Bay Street and Victoria Street as Metrolinx breaks ground on the Ontario Line's Queen Station. James Street, between Queen Street West and Albert Street, will also be closed to traffic during construction.

The transit agency expects the closure to be in place for four and a half years. The area will remain open for pedestrians for the duration of the construction project so as to minimize the effect on businesses.

READ: Eglinton Crosstown LRT Delayed Again, New Completion Date Unknown: Metrolinx

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Construction is taking place in the roadway due to the "heavily built up infrastructure" both above and below ground in the area, Metrolinx said. Undertaking a complete closure of Queen Street will speed construction up by about a year compared to multiple partial closures.

The approach is also more predictable, and will allow for "consistent access" to the downtown core through modified streetcar service.

While construction is underway, the 501 Queen streetcar will be rerouted onto Dundas Street between McCaul Street and Broadview Avenue.

The TTC will also add additional bus service to the area during construction. The 501B bus will travel westbound on Richmond Street and eastbound on King Street via Bay Street. Service will run from Queen Street at Bathurst Street to Broadview Avenue at Gerrard Street East.

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While construction is underway on the Ontario Line, a simultanious project will be occurring just to the south. Infrastructure for an alternative streetcar route will be put in place along Adelaide and Richmond Streets, between York and Church Streets.

The permanent detour tracks, which are expected to be completed in 2024, will assist with other Ontario Line-related detours, and will also provide an alternate route for the 501 streetcar during special events or subsequent roadwork.

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The new Queen Station is expected to be the Ontario Line's busiest, with nearly 17K passengers passing through during rush hour. It will also be a vital hub for riders transferring between the Ontario Line, the TTC's existing Line 1 subway, and surface routes, such as the 501.

Upon completion in 2031, the new subway line itself will accommodate nearly 400K trips per day.