Eglinton Crosstown under way, underground

Written by John Thompson, Canadian Contributing Editor

Tunneling for Toronto’s Eglinton Crosstown LRT project is in the home stretch, with completion scheduled for fourth-quarter 2016.

Four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) are working beneath Eglinton Avenue, two from the west, two from the east. Each set will finish work at Yonge Street, Toronto’s principle north-south artery, and the location of Canada’s first subway.

Preliminary work has begun—soil testing, utilities relocation, property demolition, etc.—for 15 underground stations. Two, where the LRT will pass beneath the Toronto Transit Commission’s existing Yonge and Spadina subways, at the Eglinton and Eglinton West Stations, respectively, will involve time-consuming, complicated work. At Eglinton, it is planned to extend the existing station platform northward by 200 feet, to provide a suitable interface with the CrosstownLRT.

The Eglinton Crosstown will consist of 6.2 miles of underground trackage (twin bores) and 5.6 miles of surface running, primarily in a center reservation, with 10 stations. The tunnel portion extends primarily from the western terminus at Weston Road to Brentcliffe Road, about a mile east of Yonge Street. A short section east of Weston will be elevated. The eastern terminal is at Kennedy Road and Eglinton, location of the Kennedy terminus of the TTC’s Bloor-Danforth Subway.

Work is not planned to begin on the surface section until 2017. This includes the maintenance and storage facility on the former Kodak Canada property, just east of Weston Road, which has been an abandoned brownfield for more than a decade.

The Crosstown is a project of Metrolinx, a Province of Ontario agency that has responsibility for certain new rail transit projects, including GO Transit, in Southern Ontario. However, the TTC will operate the line with its own staff. Opening is planned for September 2021.

Construction (tunnel boring) began at the west end in October 2011. Project Management is by Infrastructure Ontario, another provincial agency, utilizing the Alternate Financing and Procurement Strategy. A consortium, Crosslinx Transit Solutions General Partnership, a consortium  of EllisDon, SNC-Lavalin, Aecon and ACS- Dragados, was awarded the design-build-finance contract, and will maintain the Crosstown for a 30-year period. Ownership will reside with Metrolinx. The estimated completion cost is approximately C$5 billion.

The Crosstown is being built to railway standard gauge, rather than the TTC’s traditional four feet, 10-7/8 inches. This decision was made to permit a possible eventual connection with the approved Hurontario Street LRT in Mississauga, several miles westward.

Bombardier Flexity Freedom double-ended LRVs will serve Crosstown passengers. They will be part of large order that includes vehicles for Kitchener-Waterloo, Mississauga, Finch West (Toronto) and, possibly, Hamilton.


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