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City council continues debate on future of Gardiner east

City council continues debate on future of Gardiner east

Mayor John Tory may be a step closer to getting his way with the eastern portion of the Gardiner Expressway when council counts down to a vote at city hall on Thursday.

Councillors are deciding whether to tear down the 2.4-kilometre portion of the crumbling expressway and convert it into an eight-lane boulevard, or opt for the hybrid option, which would mostly maintain the elevated roadway for a 1.7-kilometre stretch and reroute the highway between Jarvis Street and the Don Valley Parkway.

At Thursday’s council meeting, Tory introduced three options: maintain the Gardiner, fully tear it down or the hybrid option, which at this point, is in the lead.

At the end of the debate, 17 councillors favoured the hybrid, 16 leaned towards a full removal and 10 were still undecided.

However, Tory introduced some twists. If the hybrid option goes through, it would include more studies done to the aging expressway and even a look into the possibility of tunnelling.

The clause may be enough to bring the swing vote from Coun. Jim Karygiannis who favours some tunnelling over any other option.

Karygiannis adds he does believe the mayor will listen if city staff deems the tunnel to be a viable option.

Tory is in favour of the $900-million hybrid option, saying it would result in a better economy and shorten travel time for commuters. A staff report showed tearing it down would be the cheapest option at a cost of just over $400 million.