Tunnel-digging machines to finish work in spring on new Mississauga LRT line

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Published February 15, 2024 at 4:57 pm

Tunnels for Mississauga LRT line months away from completion.

It’ll be another two or more months before a pair of huge tunnels being dug out for a major new light-rail transit line in east Mississauga are completed, project leaders say.

After nearly 24 months of daily digging, two massive tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) tasked to do the job have entered the stretch run, but are still some months away from fulfilling their duty as part of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension transit initiative.

Project leaders at Metrolinx, the provincial agency in charge of the ECWE, said that as of Feb. 7 the first TBM had travelled 5.23 kilometres and the second 5.12 kilometres of the roughly 6.3-km underground journey.

Travelling eastward at 10 to 15 metres per day, the TBMs appear on track to hit their mark in mid-to-late spring.

Officials initially hoped the machines, which were built in Germany and brought to Canada in early 2022 before going into the ground a few months later, would reach their final destination late in 2023 or earlier in 2024.

“Tunnelling work for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension is moving forward quickly,” a Metrolinx spokesperson told insauga.com in an email this week. “We expect the TBMs to complete their approximately 6.3-km journey in the months to come.”

Earlier in the project, the TBMs, one of which started its work in April 2022 and the other in July of that year, were dubbed Renny and Rexy. The names reference Renforth Station in Mississauga and the Rexdale neighbourhood in northwest Toronto located adjacent to the ECWE.

Officials say the TBMs will be “brought to the surface at the extraction shaft at Scarlett Road” at the end of their journey.

The ECWE is a 9.2-kilometre above ground/underground LRT route that will take the Eglinton Crosstown LRT in Toronto farther west and “bring much-needed rapid transit to Etobicoke and Mississauga.”

When completed in roughly eight years, it will link east Mississauga and likely Pearson Airport as well with parts of west Toronto. With project completion anticipated by 2030-31, the new route will bring the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line from Toronto west to Renforth Drive in east Mississauga.

proposal to extend the ECWE an additional 4.7 kilometres from Renforth Drive to Pearson Airport in Mississauga is also being strongly considered.

 

Updates on Renny and Rexy’s progress can be found on the ECWE’s TBM tracker.

When finished, the ECWE will operate underground from Renforth Drive in Mississauga to just west of Scarlett Road in Toronto, where it will then transition to a 1.5-km elevated section that runs east of Jane Street before heading underground again and connecting to the future Mount Dennis Station.

The new LRT line is expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by some 39,000 tonnes each year, project leaders say.

Map shows the extent to date that the two tunnels have been dug out (green line) and the extent of the route that still needs to be tunnelled (black line).

(Cover photo: Metrolinx)

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