Video: See the tunnels being built for massive light-rail transit line in Mississauga

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Published September 7, 2023 at 10:31 am

ECWE tunnels and cross passages are vital safety features of Mississauga LRT
Two tunnels are part of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension project. (Photo: Metrolinx video)

The two tunnels being built as part of a major new light-rail transit (LRT) route in east Mississauga that will further connect the city with Toronto are on track to be completed by late this year or early in 2024, project leaders say.

Officials with Metrolinx, the provincial agency in charge of the massive Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE) that’s expected to open for business in 2030-31, recently said two huge tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) that went into the ground in early and mid-2022 to dig out the underground portion of the LRT line are on schedule with their work.

As part of an ECWE update this week, project leaders posted a short video to social media on Wednesday that shows how the tunnels are being built (see below).

The ECWE is a 9.2-kilometre above ground/underground route that will further link east Mississauga with parts of west Toronto when it opens by the beginning of the next decade.

It will extend 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.

As fall approaches, the second of the two tunnels being dug out for the ECWE route is more than three-quarters of the way to being completed, having hit the halfway mark back in late April.

The first TBM, which began its duty in April 2022, is even farther along, reaching its halfway mark of 3.15 kilometres in late February.

The TBMs, dubbed Rexy and Renny, travel eastward at a rate of 10 to 15 metres per day, officials say, putting completion of both tunnels on target for late this year or early 2024.

Meanwhile, residents got a look in early August at what part of the LRT route might look like when it takes its first passengers in another eight years or so.

Project leaders revealed at an Aug. 2 open house early designs of the transit stations along the new line.

Map shows future location of the Renforth Dr. ECWE station in Mississauga. (Image: Metrolinx)

Metrolinx is seeking feedback from the public with respect to the early design concepts presented at the open house.

The route’s westernmost station will be located at Renforth Dr. in Mississauga. Officials say it will serve as a transit hub, connecting to MiWay routes 7, 39, 100, 107 and 109, GO bus routes 19 and 40, and TTC routes 32 and 112.

The Aug. 2 open house also informed those in attendance about:

  • recent construction milestones
  • progress on tunnelling work
  • next steps for the project

One recent construction milestone can perhaps best be described as “connect the tunnels.”

Project leaders say an important part of the effort recently got underway as work crews are busy building nine “cross passages” that will connect the two huge east-west tunnels that will carry the passenger trains as they travel underground.

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

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