Toronto invites qualification for new metro projects 02 Apr 2020

Jonathan Rowland, TunnelTalk

Requests for qualification have been issued for two of the four priority Toronto Metro extension projects that were announced in April 2019 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford (Fig 1 and Table 1). The four projects will result in a combined CAN$28.5 billion investment in transport infrastructure for the city, of which the Provincial Government is providing $11.2 billion.

Fig 1. Four metro priorities in Toronto
Fig 1. Four metro priorities in Toronto
Table 1. Details of the four metro line priorities in Toronto
Line Cost (CAN$) Length Completion Date
Ontario Line $10.9 billion 16km, 9km
Yonge Subway
$5.6 billion 7.4km, majority
Subway extension
$5.5 billion 7.8km, all
Eglinton Crosstown
West extension
$4.7 billion 9.2km, 6km

The first two qualification requests, issued by Infrastructure Ontario and regional transport agency Metrolinx, cover tunnelling work on the Scarborough Subway and the Eglinton Crosstown West extensions. The tunnelling contracts for both projects will include the supply of the TBMs. This is a change to the approach on the previous metro projects including the Eglinton Crosstown and earlier Spadina and Sheppard Line subway contracts for which the TBMs and the segments for the segmental linings were procured by the owner and provided to the engaged contractors. Four Lovat EPBMs were used on the Spadina Line extension and another four EPBMs were procured from the Caterpillar Tunneling Division, previously Lovat, and now Lovsuns and part of Liaoning Censcience Industry of China, for the current Eglinton Crosstown Line on which tunnelling was completed in 2016. Calls are with Metrolinx to know the reasons for the change of policy.

Scarborough Subway extension

The Scarborough Subway project is a 7.8km fully-underground extension to the Line 2 Bloor-Danforth route and will run northeast from the existing terminal at Kennedy Station through newly constructed stations at Lawrence Avenue/McCowan Road and Scarborough Centre to terminate at a third new station at Sheppard Avenue/McCowan Road (Fig 2). At an estimated cost of $5.5 billion, the target delivery date is 2029-2030.

Fig 2. 7.8km Scarborough Subway extension route
Fig 2. 7.8km Scarborough Subway extension route

The request for qualification is to bid for a contract for the 7.8km of segmentally lined TBM excavation work, including utility relocations, design and construction of launch and reception shafts, supply of the TBMs, and installation of the precast concrete segments.

The stations, rail and systems contract for the Scarborough Subway extension, including commissioning of the new infrastructure, will be awarded separately. The tunnelling contract is to be awarded on a design-build-finance model, while the stations and systems contract will be on a design-built-finance-and-maintain basis.

Eglinton Crosstown LRT

The second request for qualification covers the 6km of twin tunnelling on the 9.2km $4.7 billion extension to the Eglinton Crosstown West light rail system and covers a similar range of activities as the Scarborough tunnelling contract. The extension will run from the western end of the current Eglinton Crosstown route at Mount Dennis, along Eglinton Avenue West before heading north towards Toronto Pearson International Airport and terminating at Renforth Drive (Fig 3). The underground section runs between Scarlett Road and Renforth Drive and will be delivered on a design-build-finance model. Delivery is expected before 2031.

Fig 3. 9.2km Eglinton Crosstown West extension route
Fig 3. 9.2km Eglinton Crosstown West extension route

Construction of the seven to ten new stations and other facilities on the Eglinton Crosstown West extension, including fit-out of the tunnels and installation and commissioning of the systems, will be covered by a separate contract to be awarded at a later date. A possible further 4.7km extension, with three additional stations to take the route on to the airport is also under consideration and would bring the total length of the new works to 13.9km.

Meanwhile, work on the original 19km Eglinton Crosstown route will continue “well into 2022”, Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said in February 2020. Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), the joint venture of ACS-Dragados, Aecon, EllisDon and SNC Lavalin responsible for design and construction of the project “has faced a number of challenges since the start of the project, including starting nine months later than planned, and were slow to finalise the designs with some work packages,” Verster said. In addition, defective concrete was also discovered under the station box at Eglinton-Yonge Station, adding to the delay.

“Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario are not making any precise predictions of the project completion date because CTS must prove to us that they can achieve the new production rates they say they can achieve,” concluded Verster. “It is important to note that the project remains within budget.”

Ontario Line and Yonge Subway extension

The 16km Ontario Line will run from the Ontario Science Centre in the northeast of the city to Ontario Place in the south west and includes two tunnelled sections. It is scheduled for delivery by 2027. The initial business case for the line was released in July 2019 and work is continuing to refine the design and engineering scope, and to gain environmental approvals. HDR and partners Mott MacDonald, Stantec, Systra are project engineers and Comtech was announced as technical advisors to the project in January 2020.

Fig 4. 16km Ontario Line route
Fig 4. 16km Ontario Line route

“The Ontario Line will not only provide relief for the existing subway system but will also create connections with the existing and planned transit network,” said HDR Senior Vice President Tyrone Gan, principal-in-charge on the project.

Scheduled for completion shortly after the Ontario Line in 2029-2030, the proposed 7.4km Yonge Subway extension will feature six stops, running from the existing Finch Station into Richmond Hill. An updated business case is currently being prepared and will be presented to the Metrolinx Board in 2020.

A priority package of transportation infrastructure projects

A request for proposal has previously been issued for the progamme controls services consultant to provide management and administrative support for the subway programme. Technical advisors for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, Scarborough Subway extension and Yonge North Subway extension are also being sought with contracts expected to be awarded in Spring 2020. Legal services are being provided by MCarthy Tetrault, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, and Blakes, Cassels & Graydon.

"Our government is investing in transportation to bring relief and new opportunities to transit users and commuters," said Premier Ford when the deal was announced. "The new Ontario Line will deal with the congestion on Line 1; the Yonge North Subway Extension will connect the subway to one of the largest employment centres in the region; the three-station Scarborough Subway extension will better serve communities; and the Eglinton Crosstown West extension, a large portion of which will be underground, will relieve traffic congestion on our roadways. This is our plan, our priority."


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