Broadview Avenue Reconstruction Summer 2018 (Updated August 9, 2018)

This summer, the TTC will rebuild the special work at the intersections of Broadview with Dundas and with Gerrard, as well as replacing the tangent track between these two locations. Minor repairs are also planned between Gerrard and Danforth.

This post will track the progress of the work.

As of August 9, the TTC has announced that the intersection will reopen to traffic and normal routes for 504 King, 505 Dundas and 506 Carlton will resume on Sunday, August 12 at 7:00 am.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

By the fourth day of the project, the old intersection had been demolished and the new concrete foundation was nearly ready for the new track.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

On day seven, the intersection is fully in place, and work is in progress on various connecting tracks.


Wednesday, July 11, 2018

These photos illustrate the first stage in replacing track that was built with the now-standard three-layer technique. At the bottom is a concrete slab, and in the middle layer are steel ties with mount points for Pandrol clips that hold the rail in place. The top  layer of concrete goes from the top of the ties to the rail head.

In the first photo below, the machine is cutting away the concrete between a pair of rails to the depth of the first layer and throwing the spoil into a dump truck. The second photo shows the resulting structure with the rails still in place, but only a narrow band of concrete on either side. In the third photo, the remaining concrete is broken away from the track.


Friday, July 13, 2018

The photos below work north from Dundas Street. In some of them, the old track has been removed while it others it remains in place. The last photo shows the result after the track is removed with the connection points for the Pandrol clips exposed but not yet cleaned up for new track installation.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The photos below show the progress of attaching new rail strings to the pre-existing structure.

In the first and second photos, the attachment points for the Pandrol clips are exposed, but the rail strings have not yet been placed.

In the third photo, the rail is positioned on the ties, and the rubber vibration insulation has been placed around the rail.

In the fourth photo, the clips have been installed locking down the rails.

In the fifth photo, covers have been added over the clips, and concrete work (in the foreground) has already begun. A gauge bar is used to verify the rail spacing. Although the attachment points for the clips effectively dictate the gauge, there is a bit of play, and the rail is checked and adjusted if necessary before the concrete pour.

In the sixth photo, the concrete pour is underway north from Dundas.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Demolition of the old intersection at Broadview & Gerrard is well underway. Work began on July 24.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Most of the concrete foundation is in place ready for track to arrive.

Monday, July 30, 2018

The central diamond had been placed and part of the southern quadrant was roughly in position when I visited about noon. The diamond is unusual in that it is not a 90 degree crossing, and there the curve coming out of the east side begins within the diamond itself. Also, the intersection slopes from south to north.

The only other intersections with a non ninety degree diamond are at Bathurst & Queen, Dundas & McCaul and College & Spadina.  [Thanks to reader “Max” who pointed out the Dundas/McCaul location, and L. Wall who pointed out Spadina & College both of which I missed in the original article.]

August 2, 2018

At midday, the intersection was almost completely assembled with only the approaches still in progress. The City of Toronto tweeted yesterday that the intersection work is ahead of schedule and should open on August 20.

Great news! Broadview & Gerrard St E expected to fully reopen by Aug 20, ahead of schedule as crews make excellent progress on TTC track replacement. Thank you for your patience during this work. [Tweet from @TorontoComms August 1, 2018]

Diversions in Progress

The assembly of the intersection will likely take the balance of the week through to August 4, and then there are the connection tracks to the adjacent structures. Once concrete is placed, it would be about a week before before traffic could return. This has now been announced for August 12.

504 King and 505 Dundas buses have shifted to use the roads connecting to Gerrard at St. Matthews. 506 Carlton buses divert via River, Dundas and Logan both ways. When the intersection reopens to traffic, the replacement bus service will operate on the normal route. Streetcars return to 504 and 506 on Sunday, September 2.


The TTC has confirmed that although the Board approved addition of a north-to-west curve at this location back in 2010 (along with other changes), corporate amnesia caused this to be omitted from the current work.

24 thoughts on “Broadview Avenue Reconstruction Summer 2018 (Updated August 9, 2018)

  1. Will watch the streetcar track construction on Broadview Avenue once they start extending the tracks SOUTH into the Port Lands.

    Steve: That’s a very long way off. John Tory talks a great line about waterfront development, but transit is way down in his priority list, at least for LRT. As for DoFo, he will probably be content to say “we’re doing something” based on the DRL, even though he will be long gone from office before it ever opens, probably before it even starts construction.


  2. They should at least lay the foundation for track extensions eastwards on Dundas Street East for eventual connection with the DRL at Gerrard Station.

    Steve: Not happening. Also, the loop for that extension has been deleted from the plans for Gerrard Station.


  3. Are we finally getting the north to west curve at Gerrard? Stay tuned!

    Steve: The surveying marks at that corner were not complete when I last visited on July 1, but there is nothing that indicates a new curve is coming, yet.


  4. It will be a pity if the TTC miss this chance to install the extra curve at Gerrard – a few years ago they looked at lots of possible additional curves and a Report to the Board (which I cannot find on TTC site) was produced. This was one of the comparatively few that was deemed ‘useful’ and worth adding when they next re-laid the special track-work.


  5. Like others, I do wonder whether this work is being taken full advantage of to maximize efficient future service.

    By which I mean, not just possible introduced/restored curves, but any improvement that would allow smoother service flow.

    In my experience most of the service on Broadview itself operates fairly well w/logjams usually at or near Danforth.

    In that case is this a good moment to remove the stop right at Danforth?

    Steve: The northbound stop has already been removed. The southbound one does not create logjams. In fact the biggest problem northbound has always been parked cars chewing up capacity in the curb lane. Changes were made to parking hours, but some negotiation with the local BIA and councillor were required to fine tune this.

    Can any changes be made which would reduce conflicts w/turning (or other) vehicles?

    Steve: There is already a fairly long advanced green northbound which, if anything, delays southbound service. It appears that this one works on a timed basis whether there are cars waiting to turn or not, although it may also be controlled by approaching streetcars, if any. The east-to-north advance green adjusts to the presence or absence of cars in the left turn lane.

    What about putting in that short-turn loop at the Green P by Queen/Broadview.

    Steve: The TTC has no plans to do this currently. If they need a short turn east of downtown, they use Parliament/Dundas, or more recently, Distillery Loop. I am not sure that a loop at Queen would add much.

    Are improvements to light timing on the way?

    Steve: No. See notes above.

    Can flow be better managed at Broadview short of massive capital project?

    Could this be the moment to further tighten parking restrictions, when you’ve broken the habit of people whose road is currently closed, you can re-sign w/new prohibitions or restrictions where they would be helpful to the TTC.

    Steve: The merchants put up with the shutdown, grudgingly, because they know it is not permanent. It is not the TTC’s decision, but the city’s.

    One just has a nagging worry that the TTC doesn’t think a step ahead w/projects (see Broadview’s platforms not being able to handle 2 Flexities when extensive renovations were made only a few years ago.

    Steve: Broadview Station was planned based on ALRV-length cars which is what Toronto was going to get until they changed to the longer Flexitys.


  6. Thanks for all the insight Steve!

    Follow up, can anything be done to Broadview to allow for 2 Flexities on either (or both) platforms without spending massive gobs of money?

    Is there any other way to avoid the issue of a backlog of streetcars waiting to enter the station?

    Steve: Part of the problem is that both routes have too much running time, but there is always a trade off between that and a situation where short turns are endemic. There is also a question of work rules and scheduling. Step back crewing was supposed to be introduced at least during peak periods so that operators could have breaks at terminals even while their vehicles didn’t (the same tactic is used on the subway), but with both routes on temporary bus operation, I think it’s business as usual right now. I will try to find out what is planned for later this year when the streetcars return.

    Extending the loop into the TPA lot is possible in theory, but the platform alignment dictates the layout today (it aligns with the subway structure underneath) and changing it would be complicated and, yes, “massive gobs of money” would be needed.


  7. Some of you mentioned adding extra curves to the intersection and ideally we would have all possible curves at all possible locations but the questions to ask are:

    1) Does this justify the extra cost?
    2) Is it good value for money?
    3) Does this justify closing the intersection for that much longer? Keep in mind that this is an intersection with a major hospital and the longer that you close it for, the more lives will be lost.

    These issues need to be studied before spending taxpayer money on any discretionary curves that are not mandatory.

    Steve: I will answer your questions seriously although your assumptions show a woeful lack of knowledge of how intersections are built.

    First off, the length of time needed to rebuild with an extra curve is roughly the same as without it. The work will involve removal of the complete existing track structure, pouring a new foundation, and then installing the new intersection in panels on top of this. (You can see an example of this process in several of my articles on the subject.) The new curve would be right in the midst of the structures that are being replaced, not a net addition to the size or excavation requirements. The intersection is pre-assembled off site and then trucked to the work location in panels. There will likely be nine: one for the central diamond and one for each of the eight approach tracks and associated switches. This is the same as we have seen at other locations such as Parliament and Dundas.

    The value of the curve is that it would provide a missing part of a potential diversion of service so that, for example, Carlton cars can divert between Broadview and Coxwell via Queen. This is only possible eastbound with the existing layout. There will be a relatively small extra cost because of additional parts in the new trackwork, but the big cost is simply digging up the street in the first place. There was a TTC report some years back regarding proposals for various additional curves, and only a few, this one included, made the cut. There has already been a review of the worth (or not) of the proposals. There is a link to the report earlier in the comment thread.

    The “major hospital” you speak of is a rehab hospital, Bridgepoint, formerly Riverdale, and it does not provide acute or emergency care. In any event it remains accessible via separate roadways. The fact you don’t know this tells me a lot. No lives will be lost, and you are being alarmist just for show.


  8. This is off-topic, but have you heard any news about the two-hour time-based transfers? For something coming in less than one month, I would have thought that there would be more status updates and other reports about it.

    Steve: It’s supposed to be coming at the end of August. I think TTC is holding off on publicity until closer to the date.


  9. I see. I guess they’re trying to time it for the election.

    Steve: Actually the timing is dictated by both the TTC’s needs and other utilities, notably Toronto Water. Work on this scale is done every year, and is not necessarily a question of track maintenance. For example, both Adelaide and Jarvis Streets will have major water main replacements underway that will limit their capacity through the summer and fall.


  10. Two questions/comments.

    1. Your (great) photos show that the tangent rail seems to bend rather easily. I had assumed it would not do this.
    2. Any word whether the TTC are installing the extra curve at Gerrard recommended in their 2010 report? My bet would be that they forget about this but …

    Steve: Tangent rail does bend easily over that length as you can see. Another good example is the meandering track on St. Clair where rail strings were installed without special bending (as would be used for curves at intersections).

    The north-to-west curve is not included in the new intersection. I saw the detailed drawing of the site being used by one of the surveyors. Why this has been omitted, I don’t know, but you can bet on “budget constraint” as the explanation even if “forgot about it” might be the real cause.


  11. The north-to-west curve is not included in the new intersection. I saw the detailed drawing of the site being used by one of the surveyors. Why this has been omitted, I don’t know, but you can bet on “budget constraint” as the explanation even if “forgot about it” might be the real cause.

    The intersections along York Street, Queen/Church, Dundas/Parliament, and now Gerrard/Broadview. I’m starting to lose count here. Next intersections on the list to be forgotten: Carlton/Church. It’d be nice if the managers and operations could wake up! Idiots I’d say.


  12. With the work at Broadview/Dundas complete, why continue short turning the 504 at the distillery? Is there a reason that they can’t go Broadview => Dundas => Parliament? Thanks Steve!

    Steve: The service to Distillery Loop replaces the 514 Cherry car, and they would still require a Broadview bus to replace streetcar service north of Dundas.


  13. The only other intersection with a non ninety degree diamond is at Bathurst and Queen

    There is another! If I’m not mistaken, the diamond at Dundas and McCaul is not quite 90 degrees.

    Steve: Yes! You are correct. Dundas & McCaul does have a slight jog in it! How did I miss that one?

    I have updated the article.


  14. The TTC has confirmed that although the Board approved addition of a north-to-west curve at this location back in 2010 (along with other changes), corporate amnesia caused this to be omitted from the current work.

    At least they admitted they were incompetent instead of making excuses. Progress? I really shake my head at these people far too often. I wouldn’t be surprised to wake up one of these mornings and find the overhead at this spot re-converted back to the old trolley pole style for no observable reason.

    What were the other changes by the way?

    Steve: There was a July 2010 report that includes a table listing various proposals. Although it is listed as an “information” report, the report states:

    Staff’s consensus was that items 1 through 5 be incorporated into the existing replacement program to achieve the benefits with as little additional cost and impact to customers & public as possible.

    The minutes of the meeting state:

    a) Optimal Turnarounds

    It is recommended that the Commission approve the inclusion of these five additional switch alignments to achieve improved turnarounds/diversions in the downtown core.


    The approved new curves were:

    • College & Bathurst north-to-west and east-to-south. This location was rebuilt in 2016 without adding the curves.
    • Carlton & Church west-to-south.
    • Broadview & Gerrard north-to-west and east-to-south.


  15. But wait a moment here. Weren’t there drawings floating around with the new intersection design? I seem to remember a discussion about this in an older version of this blog.

    Steve: I have been trying to find this drawing, but cannot track it down.


  16. P.S. You guys have also forgotten about College and Spadina. There’s a jog at that intersection as well.

    Steve: Oh dear, yes there is a fourth one.


  17. Steve reported: The TTC has confirmed that although the Board approved addition of a north-to-west curve at this location back in 2010 (along with other changes), corporate amnesia caused this to be omitted from the current work.

    Colour me un-surprised and un-impressed!


  18. Thanks for that 2010 report. Although the north-to-west curve was omitted, are any of the others happening?

    Steve: Well, they already missed their chance for Bathurst & College, and I don’t think the other two are in the cards for rebuilds any time soon.


  19. The north to west curve is not being built as there is no route that requires it. There is no point in wasting money on something that will never be used. Good decision by the TTC in omitting this loop.

    Steve: As the report that included the approval in the first place stated, this and other new curves would be added to increase the flexibility of diversions. You could make the same argument about many other curves on the system, that they are not part of a regular route, but they are used all of the time.

    The related issue is that the Commission’s approval appears to have simply been forgotten, not countermanded. They missed the chance for two diversionary curves at College & Bathurst a few years ago the same way.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. “The north to west curve is not being built as there is no route that requires it.”

    In addition to Steve’s comment, I cannot help but point out that of course there is no route that requires it; there can’t be, as the curve doesn’t exist. By that logic nothing new would ever be built.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. And does the early reopening of the intersection mean that 514 and 502 will resume as well on Sunday 12th/Monday 13th, respectively?

    Steve: No. The schedule change is already set for Sunday September 2. The current route arrangement stays in place until then. Only the bus diversions around the construction area end.


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