Updated February 21, 2020 at 11:00 am:
This update includes a reply from Metrolinx detailing the nine-month contractor delay he cited in his announcement of the 2022 opening for the Crosstown, as well as additional information on delays to the project.
Metrolinx Metrolinx Media Relations provided additional information on the status of work at this point in an email on February 20, 2020.
Based on CTS’s original schedule, 30% design packages for the majority of stations (the first step in the final design process) were to have been completed and approved by December 2015/January 2016.
With the exception of Keelesdale station, none of that work was completed until March 2016 or later, and in the case of Eglinton station the 30% design was rejected due to design deficiencies.
It’s also important to note, that other key aspects of design, such systems design components, were also delayed significantly.
Despite the known delay at this point, this was not mentioned in public reports in following months.
While the update explains some of the issues CEO Phil Verster referenced in his announcement, it does not explain the reason why the in service date continued to be cited as September 2021 well after Metrolinx knew that this was not likely or possible. The opening date has been cited publicly and is included in TTC’s 2021 budget and bus fleet plan.
Internal Metrolinx status reports from September 2019 show that the problem at Eglinton Station was already a known issue as were problems with ground water at Avenue Station and a conflict with CPR at Mount Dennis, among other construction-related delays. The estimated substantial completion date was already in 2022, and it continued to move later in the year to at least May 2022.
It is not clear whether “substantial completion” coincides with opening, or merely with the point where commissioning of the line can begin, a process that is several months long and during which other problems that could delay revenue service might arise.
Moreover, the claim by Minister Mulroney that proposed legislation would have accelerated this project by three years remains completely unsupported by the actual project chronology.
Updated February 21, 2020 at 7:00 pm: Metrolinx has confirmed that “substantial completion” includes commissioning so that revenue service can begin.
On February 18, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney introduced the Building Transit Faster Act which is intended to speed up progress on the four key Ontario transit projects in the Toronto area: The Ontario Line, the Eglinton West LRT extension, the North Yonge subway extension to Richmond Hill, and the Scarborough Subway extension to Sheppard.
- Press Release from the Ministry of Transportation
- Bill 171, Building Transit Faster Act, 2020
- Proposed regulations for changes to the Environmental Assessment process
- Minister’s Press Conference
The day before, February 17, the Star’s Ben Spurr reported that the Crosstown line’s opening would be delayed until “well into 2022” according to Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster. This delay had been rumoured for some time, but was denied by Metrolinx until now.
Metrolinx published a statement on their website including photos showing unexpected conditions discovered on the Yonge Subway tunnel structure at Eglinton Station that were responsible for part of the delay.
The statement also includes a claim that the consortium building the project, Crosslinx Transit Solutions started work “nine months later than planned after contract award in July 2015”. This does not align with actual events as shown later in this article. I expect to receive a clarification from Metrolinx on this matter soon.
During her press conference, Minister Mulroney claimed that the Eglinton Crosstown project would have opened three years sooner had the provisions of the Act been in place. This claim is hard to believe considering the nature of the delays we know about, the types of delay addressed by the legislation, and the actual chronology of the project.
Eglinton and other projects have faced numerous hurdles, but these have overwhelmingly been political and financial.
To sort this out, I have assembled a history of the Eglinton Crosstown.