Steve Johnston —
There’s an old saying about Toronto that goes like this: There are two seasons in Toronto, winter and infrastructure renewal.
Wait. You say you’ve heard the joke, but the punchline was different.
Well, there are two sides to every story. Let’s take a different perspective on the construction you see on city streets.
The next time you see traffic stopped on the road you are travelling, instead of getting frustrated, think about the delay a little differently. Think of it as an investment in the community where you live.
In fact, many of the projects that disrupt traffic are being done for just that reason—fixing roads, watermains and other infrastructure that we depend on every single day.
In Toronto, some of our watermains are over 100 years old. Many of our roads were built in the 1950s and 1960s and have reached the end of their service life.
These assets absolutely need to be replaced. Many others require regular maintenance. And that means that the city has a big job ahead to upgrade or in some cases repair much of our infrastructure network.
The city is spending more than half a billion dollars each year to fix our roads, bridges, watermains and other assets. In 2016, the city is investing more than $500 million to maintain and improve its core infrastructure, including about $260 million on roads, expressways and bridges, $225 million on sewers and watermains and $70 million on basement flooding protection.
It is an unprecedented investment in our community in order to improve or replace our aging infrastructure, leading to improved transportation corridors and more efficient public transit. This work will enhance the quality of life for city residents.
So, the next time you are delayed by construction traffic, take a minute to think about the work that’s taking place. That road construction job is actually paving the way to the city’s future. It’s an investment that will pay off for years to come.
Steve Johnston is a City of Toronto communications officer