Huge light rail transit tunnel diggers complete Germany-to-Mississauga journey

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Published December 17, 2021 at 11:03 am

A cutter head from one of the tunnel-boring machines that will be used to complete the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension light rail transit project is unloaded earier this week from the Federal Delta cargo ship in Hamilton.(Photo: Federal Marine Terminals Hamilton, via Metrolinx)

The two huge machines that will dig the tunnels to extend a light rail transit (LRT) route into Mississauga from Toronto are now on Canadian soil and expected to arrive at their final destination next week.

After a cross-Atlantic journey of some 11,000 kilometres from Germany that took more than three weeks, the tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) arrived earlier this week at a Hamilton port aboard the cargo ship Federal Delta.

From there, the machines, which had been dismantled in Germany and packed into 14 shipping containers for the voyage, will be trucked up the QEW to the east Mississauga work site of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE).

Once there, they’ll be reassembled and next spring will begin digging out a large segment of the 9.2 -kilometre route that will bring the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Toronto west to Renforth Dr. in Mississauga by 2030-31. 

Overhead view of the Federal Delta cargo ship docked in Hamilton. Components of the tunnel-boring machines can be seen. (Photo: Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority, via Metrolinx)

Work crews have been busy prepping the Renforth Dr./Eglinton Ave. W. area site in Mississauga for the arrival of the TBMs. 

Metrolinx, the agency overseeing the huge public transit project, says projects such as the ECWE “will not only benefit the communities where they are being built, but the region as a whole.”

Last week, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario began the search for a team that will design, build and finance the tunnels that will run between Jane St. and the future Mount Dennis Station at the eastern end of the ECWE.  

Also, a proposal to extend the ECWE an additional 4.7 kilometres from Renforth Dr. to Pearson Airport in Mississauga is one step closer to reality after the Ontario government recently reaffirmed its support for the plan. 

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