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Metrolinx awards $320 million contract to tunnel Eglinton LRT


Metrolinx has awarded the first of two major tunneling contractsthis one worth $ 320 million – for the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT, considered the largest public works project in North America.

Crosstown Transit Constructors, comprised of Obayashi Canada, Kenny Construction, Kenaidan Contracting and Technicore Underground, beat out six other qualified bidders to build the 6.2-km. tunnel, about half the underground portion of the Crosstown light rail line.

The first of four giant tunnel boring machines is expected to be launched in February from a shaft currently under construction near Black Creek Dr. It will move east toward Allen Rd., where it will be pulled out of the ground and then re-launched east of the Eglinton West subway station toward Yonge St.

The tunnel machines actually work in pairs to build twin tunnels that allow the LRVs to run in both directions. The second machine is launched about three months after the first.

Although the tunnel launch is two or three months behind schedule, due to utility relocations, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig said he’s confident that time can be recovered.

“Starting to build this tunnel is a significant step forward in this project. This is the time people will start to see activity outside the launch shaft,” McCuaig told reporters following a Metrolinx board meeting on Tuesday.

The first machine will be dropped into the Black Creek launch shaft in November. It will take about three months to assemble before it begins tunneling eastward at a rate of about 15 metres a day.

The $ 4.6 billion LRT, which will run about 19 kilometres from Black Creek to Kennedy station in the east, is expected to take about eight years to complete. About 11 kilometres of that is underground. The line will then run above ground on its own right-of-way from about Laird Rd. to Kennedy.

The second set of tunnel boring machines will be launched from the east and move west toward Yonge St.

The tunneling contracts are being awarded directly by Metrolinx. But Infrastructure Ontario will oversee the procurement for the construction of stations, track and signaling.

thestar.com – Business