Workers aim to finish major Mississauga light rail transit route ahead of schedule


Published March 15, 2023 at 12:01 pm

The elevated guideway portion of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. (Photo: Metrolinx)

Project leaders overseeing construction of a massive new light rail transit (LRT) route in east Mississauga say they’re taking steps to get the line up and running ahead of schedule.

While the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension (ECWE) remains on schedule for a 2030-31 opening to passengers, according to project leader Metrolinx, officials told residents at an ECWE open house last week that as they seek to keep construction noise to a minimum, they may be able to move the project along faster.

“We know it’s very important to control the impact of noise and vibration during construction and beyond, which is why we build incentives into our contracts for work to be finished ahead of schedule to speed up construction,” project leaders wrote in an online review of the open house session. “We know construction can be disruptive and we’re doing everything we can to work as quickly as possible.”

Metrolinx, the provincial agency overseeing the ECWE project, says that when completed, the 9.2-kilometre route linking east Mississauga with parts of west Toronto will deliver some 37,000 daily rides to passengers.

Essentially, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is being extended from Toronto west to Renforth Dr. in east Mississauga. The ECWE is also expected to eventually extend an additional 4.7 kilometres to Pearson Airport.

When finished, the new route 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.

In addition to working more quickly, project leaders say they’ll also take a couple more steps to minimize the noise and disruption to area residents:

  • they’ll continuously monitor construction noise and vibration to make sure it stays under the required limits and find ways to reduce noise where possible
  • they’ll consider and include design features, such as mats and rail dampers, to mitigate the impact of noise and vibration when trains are operating

Meanwhile, work on the ECWE hit a milestone earlier this month when one of the tunnels being dug out for the route passed the halfway mark to being completed.

Less than a year after tunnelling began on the ECWE, the first of two tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) reached the halfway point in its underground journey, more than 3.15 kilometres.

Tunnel work, which began last April, 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.

“The first tunnel-boring machine to start tunnelling, also known as Renny, passed the halfway point, digging over three kilometres of the roughly six-kilometre tunnel,” Metrolinx officials said in an earlier online project update, describing the accomplishment as a milestone.

Shipped from Germany in December 2021, the TBMs–named Renny and Rexy by public vote–will carve out a significant portion of the ECWE.

Rexy, the second TBM, has tunnelled almost three kilometres since starting its journey last July.

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

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