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Metrolinx approves $320-million tunnel contract

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by Greg Meckbach last update:Sep 30, 2014

Ontario government agency Metrolinx has announced that its board of directors has approved a $320-million construction contract for a tunnel on a light rail transit project in Toronto.

The contract to bore a 6.2-kilometre tunnel underneath Eglinton Avenue was awarded to Crosstown Transit Constructors, a consortium comprised of Kenny Construction Co., Kenaidan Contracting Ltd., Obayashi Canada Ltd. and Technicore Underground Inc.

Kenaidan is currently working on a separate contract for the Eglinton Crosstown, on the West Launch area. That project includes the widening of the bridge over Black Creek Drive and construction of a caisson wall to permit the excavation of an access shaft for a tunnel boring machine.

“It is a significant step forward in the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown,” Metrolinx president and chief executive officer Bruce McCuaig said during the public portion of a Sept. 11 Metrolinx board meeting.

Eglinton Crosstown is one of four light rail transit projects in Toronto for which the province is providing more than $8 billion in funding. It will bring light rail service from a point near Black Creek Drive in the west to Kennedy Road. The portion from Black Creek Drive to a point near Laird Drive in Leaside will be underground.

The contract announced Sept. 11 is for the tunnel west of Yonge Street.

During a press conference McCuaig said Metrolinx plans to start the procurement for the tunnel east of Yonge Street “by the end of the year.”

He said a total of four tunnel boring machines (TBM) have been ordered, two of which will be for the portion west of Yonge. For that portion, he said, Metrolinx expects to have the launch shaft completed and new contractors on site “probably around mid- November.” Then the TBMs will be assembled and McCuaig expects the tunneling to start in mid-February.

McCuaig also confirmed Infrastructure Ontario (IO) will be involved in the future in contracting using the Alternative Financing and Procurement (AFP) model, where consortia normally submit bids under a design-build-finance model.

McCuaig said during the current portion of the Eglinton Crosstown project, Metrolinx is entering into contracts directly with constructors and equipment suppliers.

“We ultimately are going to deliver the balance of the (project) through an alternative financing and procurement process (through IO)” he said, for contracts for other components such as stations.

“It’s a bit of a hybrid for the Eglinton Crosstown,” he said.

“For the future projects, that are not as far along, we do think that the entire project will be AFP.”

The other three LRT projects are: the 12-kilometre Sheppard LRT, which would connect to the Sheppard subway at the Don Mills station; the 9.9-kilometre replacement and extension of the existing Scarborough LRT; and the 11-kilometre Finch West LRT.

Finch West will run along Finch Avenue from Keele Street to Humber College. It is scheduled for completion in 2020 and will connect to the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, currently under construction.

The Sheppard East LRT will run from Don Mills Road in the west (which is the eastern end of the existing Sheppard subway) to a point near Morningside Road in the east.

It is scheduled for completion in 2021.

The replacement and extension of the existing Scarborough RT light rail line, which runs north and east from Kennedy and Eglinton (the eastern terminus of the Bloor-Danforth subway) to McCowan Road near Highway 401, east of the Scarborough Town Centre. Scheduled for completion in 2020, the extension will bring the line north to Sheppard Avenue.

Those projects are part of The Big Move, a planning document released in 2008 that outlines a plan to build projects including light rail and dedicated bus lanes.

One project is the Hurontario-Main light rail transit that is intended to provide light rail on a dedicated right-of-way on Hurontario Street in Mississauga and Main Street in Brampton.

It would go from Lakeshore Road in the community of Port Credit north to the downtown area of Brampton.

Metrolinx is involved in the planning, but the cities of Mississauga and Brampton are contributing 75 and 25 per cent respectively to a $15 million preliminary design project, which has been contracted to a consortium led by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.

last update:Sep 30, 2014

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