A stretch of Queen Street in the heart of downtown Toronto will be closed for up to five years due to construction on a new Ontario Line subway station, Metrolinx has confirmed.
Starting in early 2023, two blocks of Queen Street will be closed to vehicles — from Bay Street to Yonge Street and Yonge Street to Victoria Street. The disruption is due to construction on a new Ontario Line subway station being built at Queen under the current TTC station. It is expected to take four and a half years to complete.
In a statement, Metrolinx said all vehicles, including streetcars, will be diverted around the area, but pedestrian access for businesses will be maintained.
Streetcars will run on detour routes on Richmond and Adelaide streets during this period. New diversion tracks will be built to connect Queen Street to Adelaide Street via York Street, and will remain in place after construction on the subway station is complete — to be used for future event or construction detours. Streetcar tracks that connect Queen to Richmond already exist for westbound diversions.
The new subway stop is expected to be the busiest connection point along the Ontario Line, Metrolinx said, with connections to the existing Line 1 subway and TTC surface routes and an expected 16,600 people set to use the station during its busiest periods.
Malcolm MacKay, Metrolinx program sponsor for the Ontario Line, said they had considered a "partial closure" of the area, but diverting all traffic instead allowed them to complete construction on the station over a year earlier and the Ontario Line to open nine months earlier.
"More importantly, a full diversion like this gives people more predictability when moving through and around the area, avoiding a series of confusing on-and-off road closures that would drag on for a longer time," MacKay said.
Metrolinx said it will be working with residents and businesses in the area to mitigate disruptions and will use a "range of proven noise and vibration solutions."
A 24-hour hotline will be available for people to call if they have noise or construction-related concerns.
Metrolinx says it also plans to host a virtual open house about the closure in the coming weeks.