Work gets done below ground and above ground on massive Mississauga light-rail transit extension

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Published December 2, 2021 at 12:28 pm

Work continues on the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension light-rail transit project at the Renforth Dr. tunnel launch site in east Mississauga. (Photo: Metrolinx)

Tunnel work on the extension of a light rail transit (LRT) system that will connect Mississauga and Toronto is not only taking place below ground, but above the surface as well. 

Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency that’s overseeing the huge project, and Infrastructure Ontario began the search today for a team that will design, build and finance tunnels that will run between Jane St. and the future Mount Dennis Station at the eastern end of the 9.2-kilometre Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE). 

The ECWE, currently in the early stages of construction, will bring the LRT from Toronto west to Renforth Dr. in Mississauga by 2030-31.  

And a proposal to extend the route an additional 4.7 kilometres to Pearson Airport in Mississauga is one step closer to reality after the Ontario government recently reaffirmed its support for the plan. 

“It’s really exciting to see the progress being made on the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension,” said Joshua Engel-Yan, Metrolinx program sponsor for the project. “Every milestone we reach brings us closer to bringing higher-quality rapid transit to transit riders in Mississauga and Etobicoke, and to people across the region.” 

Meanwhile, work continues at the Renforth Dr./Eglinton Ave. W. site in Mississauga. Crews there are using drill rigs to prep the area for the arrival next spring from Germany of two tunnel boring machines that will dig the two tunnels needed for the nearly 10-km route. 

Once the current work prepares the entry points, or launch shafts, the tunnel boring machines will, upon arrival in early 2022, start at Renforth Dr. and move underground eastward towards Scarlett Rd. in Toronto. There, the line will rise to elevated tracks over the Humber River to Jane St., and then underground again to the planned Mount Dennis Station.   

The extended LRT route from Toronto to Renforth Dr., which will include seven passenger stops and an estimated 37,000 daily boardings, will run mainly underground, helping to reduce travel times and improve access to jobs, schools and other destinations across the GTA, Metrolinx says.    

If the route is extended to Pearson Airport, as many as three stops would be added between Renforth Dr. and Pearson.    

Metrolinx is working with Infrastructure Ontario to complete the huge project in the next nine or 10 years.   

When completed, the extended route will offer convenient links to destinations throughout the region via UP Express and Kitchener line GO train service, TTC bus services at all stops in Toronto, and MiWay and GO bus services via the Mississauga Transitway at Renforth Dr.    

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which runs Mississauga-based Pearson, continues to push strongly for the LRT to be extended to the airport. 

GTAA officials say such an extension is crucial to moving millions of people around on transit more quickly in the coming decades.   

 

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