Staff from Ontario government transit agency Metrolinx are recommending the province restart design work for part of a rapid transit project in Scarborough, review the cost of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit project and work with Infrastructure Ontario on procurement on other LRT projects in Toronto.
A report with recommendations to the Metrolinx board of directors comes two months after Toronto City Council voted in favour of a plan that would entail $8.4 billion in provincial funding for four LRT projects. The report recommends that Metrolinx staff work with the federal government to seek P3 Canada Fund support for the projects, which include the Eglinton-Crosstown, the 19-kilometre project on which work has already started.
Eleven kilometres of the Eglinton crosstown line, from Black Creek Drive near the old community of Mount Dennis to east of Laird Drive in the former town of Leaside, will be underground. Completion is expected in 2020.
“The previous budget for Eglinton was estimated at $4.9 billion in 2010 dollars,” Metrolinx vice-president of rapid transit implementation Jack Collins wrote in the report. “These costs will need to be reviewed to reflect potential changes to scope, including a grade separation option through the Black Creek area. Metrolinx staff plan to report back to the Board of Directors at the June meeting on the proposed alignment in the Black Creek area and the western terminus for this phase of the project.”
The other Toronto LRT projects are:
•The 12-kilometre Sheppard East LRT, from the Don Mills subway station at Fairview Mall near the interchange of Highways 404 and 401, east to a point near Morningside Road in the former city of Scarborough, southwest of the zoo;
•The 9.9-kilometre replacement and extension of the Scarborough RT, a light rail route currently running north and east from Kennedy Road and Eglinton Avenue (the east end of the Bloor-Danforth subway line) to McCowan Road south of Highway 401, just east of the Scarborough Town Centre retail and government office cluster. The current line was opened in 1985 and its replacement would essentially function as an eastward continuation of the Eglinton-Crosstown line; and
•The 11-kilometre Finch West LRT, which would run from Keele Street to Humber College, near the western boundary of the city about eight kilometers north of Lester B. Pearson International Airport. It would include a transfer point from the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, which is currently under construction and would extend University-Spadina subway line 8.6 kilometres northwest from Downsview Station to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, north of Toronto.
Metrolinx staff are recommending the province immediately build underground access connections from the Toronto-York subway extension to the site of the Finch LRT and complete design work to 30 per cent to facilitate procurement using the alternative financing and procurement model.
“Metrolinx and the TTC will need to review the current status of all Finch West LRT work, evaluate and update the cost estimates and prepare an value for money analysis for an (Infrastructure Ontario) delivery model,” Collins wrote. “The anticipated completion date will be in 2019.”
Collins is recommending Metrolinx proceed with an IO delivery model for the Sheppard East and Scarborough LRT projects, as well as for the remainder of the Eglinton-Crosstown line.
Construction has already started on the west tunnel launch site at Eglinton Avenue and Black Creek Drive. The tunnel from Black Creek Drive to Yonge Street has been designed while design work for seven stations in between has been initiated.
The report notes that the design for the extension component of the Scarborough RT, from the Scarborough Town Centre of Sheppard Avenue, will need to be restarted. A revised plan would have the line opening in 2019, instead of 2020.
Although the original construction plan for Scarborough East was 2010-2014, the only work that has taken place so far has been a grade separation on a railway track east of Kennedy Road and site grading for a maintenance and storage facility at Conlins Road.
“Site preparation work, including the relocation of underground utilities, has been completed,” Collins wrote, adding that procurement for the maintenance facility, “which was to be a design-build-finance-maintain project in collaboration with Infrastructure Ontario, is currently on hold and will need to be reactivated.”
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