Construction work on The Queensway, Lake Shore Boulevard and at Humber Loop ran into a number of problems and design changes that will affect the date when streetcar service will be restored west of Sunnyside Loop. These include:
- An unexpectedly high water table south of Grenadier Pond
- Difficulty in concrete removal for some of the track on Lake Shore
- Design changes at Humber Loop to address various issues that were not picked up in the original project.
Richard Wong, the Head of Streetcar Maintenance and Infrastructure, advises:
There is a higher than expected water table along the stretch of the Queensway from Ellis Ave to Colborne Lodge Dr. Construction started to the east of Colborne Lodge and should have progressed westerly towards Humber Loop.
Due to the water table issue, construction proceeded westerly to Colborne Lodge Dr. where it had to be suspended. To allow engineers time to evaluate the situation and develop a solution, construction then resumed to the west of Ellis Ave and will move westerly to Humber Loop. Construction between Colborne Lodge and Ellis will resume at the tail end of this project. In total, there is approximately 2 months of slippage in the schedule for this part of the Queensway project. This slippage may affect the Q2 2018 commitment of reinstating streetcar service from Roncesvalles to Humber Loop. TTC staff is working with the contractor to investigate options to recover time.
With respect to the Lakeshore, construction was slow and was expected in the area that is currently being worked on. This is due to the type of concrete. Concrete in this area was originally poured in one batch (monolithic pour). Monolithic concrete requires chipping to break it up. This method of removing old concrete is time consuming and messy. As construction continues to move east, TTC expects to move from monolithic concrete to layered concrete. That is, during TTC’s last track replacement program, concrete was poured in layers and separated by bonding agent. This allows the concrete to be cleanly milled down to an exact depth. Milling work is faster and more accurate which will speed up construction time. At the moment, TTC staff do not anticipate slippage in schedule for this project. [Email of August 30, 2017 via TTC’s Brad Ross, Executive Director – Corporate Communications]
The CEO’s Report in the September 5 Board agenda includes a project status page for surface track work including this project, and some of the remarks on it prompted me to delve further. [See p77 of the report which is p79 in the linked PDF.]
From the project status page:
Anticipated completion for the Humber Loop project has been moved to Q2 2018 due to the following unmitigated risks:
- condition of Metrolinx bridge struts is unknown
- unknown condition and location of some utilities
- several third party approvals are required in order work to proceed
Management Action Plan:
- alternate track structure design in progress to mitigate deteriorated struts
- leveraged Executive support to expedite third party approvals
- work has been phased to allow return of the Queen St portion of the 501 route to Humber Loop by Q1 of 2018
The TTC replied:
There were a number of challenges that resulted in more time needed for the completion of Humber Loop, as it is is directly adjacent to the following infrastructure:
- CN/GO rail lines
- Gardiner Expressway
- Hydro Towers and Vaults
- Condominium Development
It is also constructed on re-claimed land. As a result, numerous 3rd party design reviews and approvals were required. These included:
- Hydro One
- City of Toronto (Forestry, Transportation, Water)
- Toronto & Region Conservation Authority
- Ministry of Environment
During these reviews and approvals, stakeholders (including internal TTC stakeholders) identified opportunities to combine initiatives during this construction, including:
- Investigation of the Gardiner Expressway underpass struts (& potential remediation)
- Reconfiguration of the underpass walkway
- Inclusion of additional spur tracks to accommodate the new LFLRV lengths
- Improved landscaping of the loop
Due to the above challenges and opportunities, additional time was added to the construction schedule to ensure we capture all of the requirements. [Email of August 31, 2017 from Brad Ross]
The current status of construction on The Queensway as of August 31 is:
- Parkside to Colborne Lodge: Track installation completed. Overhead poles in place.
- Colborne Lodge to Ellis Avenue: Minimal work completed due to water table problems.
- Ellis Avenue to South Kingsway: Right-of-way grading and pole base installation in progress. Track formerly stored between Windermere and South Kingsway has been moved to the streetcar lanes in front of St. Joseph’s Hospital.
- Humber River Bridge: The centre span used by streetcars has been rebuilt, but is temporarily hosting all road traffic while the north (westbound) and south (eastbound) spans and approach ramps are under construction. This work has progressed to the point that some concrete placement has been done.
- Humber Bridge to Humber Loop. Pole base installation in progress.
On Lake Shore, demolition of the track from Dwight Ave eastward has crossed Symons Road which was expected to be the point where there is a transition from monolithic concrete to discrete layers. New track is in place from Dwight to approximately Lake Crescent.
For updated construction photos, please see my article with galleries tracking this work.
The long-suffering riders of the 501 bus service west of Sunnyside will have to deal with this arrangement for several more months and will not see streetcar service until mid-2018. This will all get nicely settled until 2019 when the project to rebuild King/Queen/Roncesvalles will be launched together with construction of a streetcar right-of-way from Parkside Drive to Roncesvalles.