Mayor Rob Ford says he is preparing for a fight over the future of the Gardiner Expressway.

Ford made the comment to reporters as city staff and Waterfront Toronto prepare to hold a briefing on Wednesday, in which they will provide their recommendation on what to do with a 2.4 kilometre elevated portion of the crumbling highway located east of Jarvis Street.

The options believed to be under consideration include maintaining it, making several major improvements to it at a cost of about $630 million, replacing it at a cost of about $1 billion or removing it completely.

“I think staff and I are on a different page. I think staff want to tear it down and I want to maintain it just like most Torontonians do,” Ford told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “It moves 4,500 people every hour, so that’s a lot. We have to keep it.”

The Gardiner Expressway has fallen under disrepair in recent years and costs the city an estimated $15 million annually just to maintain.

A number of instances of concrete falling from the underside of the highway have also been recorded and a report commissioned by the city in 2012 suggested that the highway presents a “significant hazard to public safety.”

There could be big costs to replacing the highway, though, as a major road with between eight to 10 lanes of traffic would likely have to be built in its place.

“The cost effective thing to do is to maintain it and I am not going to tear it down; it would cause traffic chaos,” Ford said.

Wednesday’s presentation follows months of public consultation on what to do with the aging highway.

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