Updated August 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm: Leslie Street will reopen to traffic using the completed streetcar lanes and the west curb lane on August 8. Work will continue to rebuild the east curb lane and sidewalk.
Updated July 28, 2015 at 12:30 pm: Recent construction photos added.
Updated July 17, 2015 at 2:10 pm: Recent construction photos added.
Updated June 24, 2015 at 5:00 pm: Recent construction photos added.
Updated May 28, 2015 at 2:00 pm: Further information about the design of the track support structure has been added at the end of the article along with historical links.
The seemingly endless work to rebuild Leslie Street south of Queen as the access route to the new Leslie Barns hit another setback with the discovery that a section of track was installed at the wrong elevation. This affects the road profile, drainage patterns and the access to an adjacent condo where residents had expected they would be free of side effects beyond the nuisance of construction.
A surveying error by the contractor, Pomerlau Construction, who have responsibility for the entire Leslie Barns project, caused about 60m of track just north of Eastern Avenue to be installed roughly 9cm above the correct level.
To explain a bit about the structures involved, here are photos from the Leslie Street project.
The view below looks north on Leslie toward Eastern Avenue, and shows the “tub” form which was cast along the length of Leslie to hold the track structure. The purpose of this, as opposed to the usual base slab plus ties, is to distribute the load in a self-contained structure.
The next photo shows the same stretch (viewed from the middle of the road) with the track installed and concrete up to the railhead. Both of these photos were taken in fall 2014. (The track sitting on top of the road is stored here awaiting installation elsewhere in the project.)
A rather messy view of the “tub” under construction looking south to Eastern Avenue (the area behind the barricade in the photo above) on April 1, 2015. This gives a sense of the conditions residents have lived through during this project.
Here is a view looking north to Queen on May 14, 2015, showing the internal structure before the “tub” is concreted.
Finally, two views of the nearly completed structure in the same location taken on May 14, 2015. First looking south:
And then north. The affected condo is on the west (left) side of the street.
Recently, the TTC met with residents in the neighbourhood, and three options were on the table:
- Remove the portion of the track and the “tub” in which it rests and reinstall at a lower elevation. Concurrently repairs would be made to the parking ramp into the condo which was damaged during construction.
- Slice the tub walls to shorten this structure and adjust the track height accordingly.
- Raise the road grade. This was originally thought to be the simplest fix, but it would affect both the ramp into the condo’s parking garage and the drainage from the street.
Option 1 is the preferred choice, but it will delay the full reopening of Leslie Street by about 5 weeks. A final choice will be settled this week so that construction can begin as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Leslie Barns itself is close to a year behind schedule, and only the similarly late delivery of Flexitys from Bombardier has prevented a storage crisis at the TTC’s carhouses. As things stand, two dozen cars are stored overnight at the CNE Loop to provide some elbow room for construction projects at the carhouses and space at Roncesvalles for the Flexitys now in service.
According to the CEO’s Report at the TTC Board Meeting of May 27, 2015:
The contract was awarded on April 12, 2012. The contract was initially expected to be completed in June 2014; however, construction delays have resulted in expected completion in 2015. TTC will have staged occupancy of the facility starting July 2015 and completion of the work is expected by Q4 2015. [p. 27]
The entire Leslie project has been plagued with problems from the outset including issues with site selection, the need for site remediation and relocation of a high-voltage hydro conduit, and the extensive set of utilities, including a very old water main, under Leslie Street. The project is well over budget, and shares with another major TTC project, the Spadina subway extension, questions about the degree to which conditions were properly understood before it was approved.
I will update this article as the story unfolds.
Updated May 28: The following links show maps of the area before it was filled in to create the Port Lands were moved here from a reply in the comment thread.
Goad’s Insurance Maps for 1884 (key map for Toronto). With thanks to Nathan Ng for his excellent site indexing all of these maps.
Goad’s map of Leslieville and surrounding area
Wikipedia article on Ashbridge’s Bay with a map of the waterfront in 1906
Updated May 28 at 2:00 pm: The purpose of the “tub” track structure turns out to not be a function of load distribution on the soil below, but to act as a container for a “hockey puck” like substance that will provide vibration isolation between the track and the roadbed. This is similar to the design used on new subway lines where there is a layer of large discs between the concrete ties under the track and the floor of the tunnel.
Updated June 24 at 5:00 pm: Recent construction photos
Updated July 17 at 2:10 pm: Recent construction photos
Updated July 28 at 2:10 pm: Recent construction photos
Track construction is now complete between Queen and Eastern, and paving of the south curb lane is in progress. South of Eastern, the west side of the street is as yet unfinished.
Updated August 7 at 6:00 pm: Recent construction photos