2014 Year-in-Review

January 8, 2015

The Eglinton Crosstown is a 19-kilometre light rail transit (LRT) line that will run along Eglinton Avenue through the heart of Toronto, with a 10-kilmetre underground tunnel in its central section. When it’s complete, the line will connect Mount Dennis in the west to Kennedy Road in the east, and will be up to 60% faster than bus service today.

The Crosstown project is an enormous undertaking, which will bring significant benefit to Toronto. We would like to thank the communities along Eglinton for their patience and understanding as we work to build this important project. It will definitely be worth the wait!

Considerable progress has been made, and there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. As we bid farewell to 2014 and welcome in 2015, we would like to reflect on the past year and look ahead to how we expect the project to advance over the next 12 months.

What has happened in 2014?

Work currently underway is associated with construction of the 10-kilometre tunnelled section. You might think that because it’s underground, there is no work required above-ground – but that’s not true. A lot of work associated with tunnelling happens at street level. Our contractors have to build launch and extraction shafts – the areas where the tunnel boring machines are inserted and removed from the ground. As well, headwalls must be constructed at various points along Eglinton.

Four huge tunnel boring machines create the 5.75-metre tunnels. The west tunnels work has progressed from around Keele Street, moving east, and will end just west of Yonge Street. The east tunnels work is happening from around Laird Drive, moving west, and will end just east of Yonge Street.

Crosstown alignment map

In the West

Tunnelling and associated work has been underway in the west since 2011, and a lot of progress can been seen from Black Creek Drive to Yonge Street.

Excavation progress of the launch shaft near Allen RoadHeadwall construction is a significant aspect of the tunnelling work. Headwalls must be constructed at various points along Eglinton where the 12 underground stations will be located. The headwalls will form a portion of the station boxes, and they must be in place prior to the arrival of the boring machines. Since the spring, headwall construction has been completed at five of the future stations in the west segment – Keele, Caledonia, Oakwood, Dufferin and Chaplin. As well, the headwall that will form the west end of Yonge/Eglinton station was finished in November. The wall on the east side of the station will be constructed by the contractor working on the east tunnels.

Utility relocation work at Yonge & EglintonWe look forward to continued progress in the west throughout 2015, with construction of headwalls at Bathurst and Avenue, a cross-passage at Duncannon, and continuing the sensational progress of the tunnel boring machines.

Both Dennis and Lea, the west segment tunnel boring machines (TBMs), have had an excellent year in 2014! The first leg of their journey is complete. In November, Dennis (TBM 1) and Lea (TBM 2) arrived at Allen Road, having travelled 3,547 metres from where they started at Black Creek Drive. Each TBM installed 14,124 precast concrete tunnel liners, which formed 2,354 rings.

Sometimes we talk about Dennis and Lea like they are two magical machines mysteriously digging the tunnels. But it takes a dedicated and experienced team to operate these TBMs. Dennis and Lea are each operated by three shifts of 26 workers that work eight hours a day. Behind every metre of tunnel is a lot of hard work.

The TBMs are now waiting on the west side of Allen Road for the completion of the extraction and launch shafts. To bypass the TTC subway line, in early 2015 Dennis and Lea will be extracted on the west side of Allen Road and re-launched on the east side, where they will continue their tunnel drives east toward Yonge Street. The work required to move the TBMs is incredibly complex and very exciting. Stay tuned for more detailed information about the move from the Crosstown team as plans are finalized.

In the East

Pieces of east tunnels TBMs being deliveredConstruction in the east began in earnest in 2014. Work on the TBM launch shaft at Brentcliffe Road began in January, and the first pieces of the east segment TBMs – aka Humber and Don – began arriving at the storage area in July. We anticipate that the launch shaft will be complete, and the TBMs assembled and ready to begin tunnelling in the summer of 2015.

While we’re waiting for tunnelling to begin from the east, a lot of preparation and associated work is moving forward. Utilities relocation preparation work has commenced in several places between Brentcliffe and Yonge Street, including work underway to prepare the extraction shaft at Yonge Street where the TBMs will finish their journey and be removed. As well, headwall construction has begun at the future Laird Station location, and work on an emergency exit building is underway at Donlea Drive.

A lot is on the horizon for the east segment in 2015. Not only will Humber and Don begin their tunnel drives, we are also tracking the start of construction of an emergency exit building at Petman Avenue East, and utility relocation and headwall construction at Bayview Avenue and Mount Pleasant Road.

When will station work begin?

While work on the tunnels progresses every day, we also get closer to being able to select a contractor that will work on the future stations. The RFP (Request for Proposal) process currently underway will close in early 2015, with the two pre-qualified consortia submitting their bid proposals. We anticipate that by the summer of 2015, we will have selected and be able to announce the chosen bidder that will deliver the stations, as well as trackworks, signaling, communications and other required infrastructure.

For full details on construction work, please follow us on Twitter @CrosstownTO, and regularly check our website for the most up-to-date construction notices –

LRV event at CNE

Our team in the community

We understand that construction can be disruptive, and Metrolinx is committed to open, honest communication with the public and the local neighbourhoods about construction activities along Eglinton Avenue.

As the Crosstown project has grown throughout 2014, so too has the Crosstown Community Relations team – a group of specialists who work in the community to deal directly with local questions or concerns.

In August, we opened a second community office. Now, in addition to our West Community Office at Eglinton and Dufferin, we have an office in the east section of the corridor at Bayview and Eglinton. Members of the community are invited to contact our community offices with any questions about the construction progress, or inquiries about the future LRT service. We can also help with specific concerns about any impacts related to construction. Throughout 2014, members of the Community Relations team have held several individual meetings with property owners and neighbourhood groups to discuss concerns and share information. If you would like to arrange such a meeting, please contact one of the Crosstown Community Offices directly.

Prior to construction arriving to a particular neighbourhood, we like spend time in those areas to prepare residents for what is about to happen. We hosted six open houses throughout 2014 in various locations to educate local communities about approaching construction work. On February 24 and 27, open houses were hosted to inform residents about the headwall construction that was about to begin around the future Chaplin Station location. On March 18, we hosted an open house for the Leaside community about work that was upcoming in that area. And, in September we hosted three open houses focused on updating communities about constructions activities – two in the west end, and one in the east end. Over 700 people attended these events with interest and curiosity about how the Crosstown is coming to life in their neighbourhoods.

Being out in the community is a big part of how we work to keep everyone informed about the Crosstown. In addition to our public open houses, we also hosted and participated in many events during the year. In May, we participated in two community walks as part of the annual “Jane’s Walk Festival.” Over 60 curious residents participated. The first walk convened at Keelesdale Park to hear about the Eglinton Crosstown LRT launch shaft and tunnel construction. The group then continued toward the old Kodak factory site to talk about the future Mount Dennis Mobility Hub. A second walk brought participants into our West Community Office for a visit, where they learned about the design and technical aspects of the LRT.

Our Community Relations team was also out in full force at the annual York-Eglinton International Street Festival in August. And our light rail vehicle (LRV) mock-up was spotted around town at several places this summer. The LRV tour stopped at four locations: Harbourfront Centre’s Canada Day Extravaganza from June 27 to July 1, the Railway Safety Day at Roundhouse Park on July 19, the Ontario Science Centre from August 1 to 7, and, the Canadian National Exhibition from August 15 to September 1. Over the course of the mock-up’s 31 days on display, it received a total 30,056 visitors interested to learn more about light rail and transit expansion in the GTHA.

We have many more exciting things planned for 2015, so stay tuned!

Shop Local:  Experience Eglinton

Announcement of poster design contest winner

We know that the experience of construction can be difficult, and we are working with businesses and BIAs to help support the local economy during the most disruptive periods of construction.

The Crosstown Community Relations office has developed Experience Eglinton, a campaign to help local businesses promote themselves during construction. In multiple ways, the program works to convey one simple message: ‘Eglinton Avenue is open for business!’

By coordinating with local business improvement areas and local elected officials, we were able to accomplish many great things for the Experience Eglinton campaign throughout 2014.

Our Experience Eglinton reusable shopping bags were distributed to several shops along the strip to encourage shopping along Eglinton.

In February, we helped organize a poster design contest. The winning poster celebrated the unique character of Eglinton and conveyed the ‘Shop Local’ message. The poster was printed and the local BIA distributed to its various members for display in their shops. On February 27, the Crosstown, along with area businesses and the local BIA, hosted a “Thank You Neighbour” event as a big ‘thank you’ to the residents and businesses in the area for their patience during construction.

In November, our team also helped with the design and production of a “Passport Program,” which encourages people to shop local this holiday season and fill their passports for a chance to win $500.

The Community Relations team also helped support the creation of ‘Shop Local’ lawn signs for residents of Ward 21 to display. And we have coordinated and hosted two successful workshops, specifically catered to businesses along Eglinton. The February workshop taught local entrepreneurs how to use social media to support and grow their businesses, and in November we shared strategies for how to build your brand and create and a marketing plan.

Infographic of community office stats

We look forward to more exciting progress in 2015. Have a safe & happy new year!

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