Two huge tunnels being connected as part of Mississauga light-rail transit project


Published June 5, 2023 at 11:50 am

The latest stage in the construction of a massive new light-rail transit (LRT) route in east Mississauga can best and most simply be described as “connect the tunnels.”

Project leaders in charge of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE), a 9.2-kilometre above ground/underground route that when completed in roughly eight years will link east Mississauga and possibly Pearson Airport with parts of west Toronto, say an important part of the effort recently got underway.

Work crews are busy building nine “cross passages” that will connect the two huge east-west tunnels that will carry the passenger trains.

“Cross passages are small passageways that connect the eastbound and westbound tunnels. They’re used for maintenance and emergencies,” project leaders at Metrolinx said in an online update this week.

Metrolinx is the provincial agency overseeing the massive transit project, which when completed by 2030-31 will bring the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Toronto west to Renforth Dr. in east Mississauga.

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

The second of the two tunnels being dug out for the ECWE route recently passed the halfway mark to being completed.

Project leaders said that less than 10 months after going into the ground last July to begin its work on the new LRT line, the second of two huge tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) reached the halfway point in its underground journey.

As of April 28, the second TBM had travelled 3.06 kilometres to reach the midway point.

The first TBM, which began its duty in April 2022, reached its halfway mark of 3.15 kilometres in late February.

Tunnel work, which began in April of last year, is expected to take about 20 months, according to Metrolinx, with the TBMs travelling eastward at a rate of 10 to 15 metres per day.

That puts completion of both tunnels on target for late this year or early 2024.

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

The ECWE remains on schedule for a 2030-31 opening to passengers, according to Metrolinx, despite word in recent months that its sister project in Toronto, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, is significantly behind schedule.

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

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