Toronto City Council has approved a motion that could ramp up construction on the Gardiner Expressway.

The motion put forward by Coun. Brad Bradford and seconded by Coun. Jon Burnside and amended by Coun. Jennifer McKelvie requests city transportation staff to report back in July with a plan to accelerate work on the expressway and minimize traffic and congestion impacts.

Staff will look into the feasibility of undertaking 24/7 construction, including work on Sundays.

"The experience on the Gardiner right now is an absolute horror show. It's choking our economy, it's killing our small business, and it is ruining quality of life for residents here in Toronto," Bradford said in an interview with CP24 Thursday morning.

Staff will also evaluate upcoming road work and other state-of-good repair projects along corridors adjacent to the highway. The motion also includes creating a working group to look into the issue.

"You're dealing with major construction projects on Lakeshore, on Gardiner, on King Street, Richmond, Adelaide, Queen. And that's why it's at such a breaking point right now because there are no alternative routes for people to use, so they are in the unfortunate position of being stuck in traffic," Bradford said.

The Gardiner has been reduced to two lanes of traffic in either direction for nearly two months now as major rehabilitation work gets underway to rejuvenate the crumbling expressway from Dufferin to Strachan.

The work is the second part of a five-stage plan to repair the aging highway. This stage is expected to last for around three years, but drivers are already expressing exasperation about the increased congestion.

According to staff, about 130,000 drivers use the 60-year-old highway every day.

During Thursday's council meeting, staff were grilled about the construction. They said that 24/7 work is permitted under the contract but noted that noisy demolition of the bridge, which is happening now, is limited to between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with occasional work on Sundays.

Staff indicated that noise sensors have been installed to test how far the contractor could "push the envelope" in order to advance the work.

"They are actually trying to do a little bit of demolition work during the nighttime period to understand how noisy it is and to see if they can continue to work overnight," staff told councillors.

Until then, staff said most work that can occur 24/7 will have to wait until the demolition phase is done.

"When we were developing this contract, we really looked hard at the experience that we had with the first phase of the work which occurred between Jarvis and Cherry. And there were significant noise issues and concerns in that the work that was taking place was causing tremendous community disruption. So with respect to that, and due regard for that, we put this in the contract," staff said.

"The contractors learning as we go. We're learning as we go. And our goal is to be responsive and come back with as many solutions as we can find to try to accelerate the work and minimize the impact."

Ahead of the motion being approved, staff informed councillors that they will report back to the infrastructure committee in July on possible ways to speed up the Gardiner construction as part of the update on the city's congestion management plan.

With files from Joshua Freeman