Infrastructure Ontario’s April 2021 Update

Infrastructure Ontario issues quarterly updates about the projects it is managing for P3 procurement, and I have been tracking the transportation items on this site. Their April 2021 Market Update came out on April 8, but I have been waiting for clarification of some issues before posting here.

Here is a spreadsheet tracking changes in project status since these updates began.

Items highlighted in yellow have changed since the last update.

Note that this report only covers the procurement portions of Metrolinx projects that are undertaken through Infrastructure Ontario. Contracts that are in construction, or are directly tendered and managed through Metrolinx outside of the P3 model, do not appear here.

Ontario Line, Line 1 North Extension (Richmond Hill Subway), Line 4 Sheppard East Subway

There are no changes to these projects in this update.

Line 2 East Extension (Scarborough Subway)

As previously announced, the tunneling contract gets underway this spring. The contract for the remainder of the project (stations etc.) enters the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) stage this spring/summer, but contract execution is not expected until spring 2023.

Note that vehicles for the extension will be procured as part of a TTC order for fleet expansion and renewal that does not show up in the IO updates.

Line 5 Eglinton West Extension

As previously announced, the tunneling contract gets underway this spring. There is no date yet for the remainder of the project to enter the RFQ stage.

GO Expansion Projects

Metrolinx came up with a new term for procurement, the “alliance” model where more responsibility for the project is shifted back onto Metrolinx as owner rather than expecting bidders to take on a substantial project risk. This showed up in the Union Station platform expansion project early in 2020.

In this round of updates, things appear to have gone a step further. Three projects (Lake Shore East and West Corridors, and the Milton Corridor) are reduced in dollar value. I asked Infrastructure Ontario about this, and they replied:

Since the previous Market Update (Dec 2020), there have been some changes in scope of work for these projects. Items which have been descoped may be carried out by Metrolinx in the future under separate, traditionally-procured contracts. The intent is to better manage risks and costs with respect to the GO Expansion program.

As these projects remain in procurement, we will provide further updates this spring/summer.

Email from Ian McConachie, IO Media Relations, April 9, 2021

Specific changes by corridor:

CorridorChange (per Infrastructure Ontario)Previous CostUpdated Cost
Lakeshore WestDescoping of Exhibition Station in-corridor enhancement works and track improvements, Clarkson Station and Bronte Station in-corridor enhancement works.$500M-$1B$200-500M
Lakeshore East-Central Descoping of Scarboro Golf Club Works and 2.5km of grading (previously part of LSE-E) and deferral of Highland Creek Expansion $200-499M$100-200M
Milton Descoping of Station Operations West Facility and replacing the pedestrian tunnel with a pedestrian bridge. $100-199M< $100M

The project formerly called “Milton Corridor” is now called “Milton Station”.

A separate project line, Lakeshore East-West Corridor, dropped off of the IO Update in mid-2020. The project was transferred to Metrolinx for delivery as a non-P3 contract.

The comment about “better manage risks and costs” is telling here, and it implies that the P3 model has not worked out as favourably as hoped for all of Metrolinx’ work. In some cases it is simpler and cheaper to just go out and buy/build something yourself than to set up elaborate machinery for others to do this for you.

Notably the $10B GO “ON-Corr” project which entails a complete restructuring of GO including future operation, maintenance and electrification has not changed status in a year. With GO’s ridership uncertain in the near term, projecting just what Metrolinx might ask a P3 to undertake, let alone contracting for it, is like peering into a very cloudy crystal ball.

3 thoughts on “Infrastructure Ontario’s April 2021 Update

  1. Exhibition Station has been in limbo for a long time. A few years ago, there were major improvements planned for that station, including new pedestrian tunnels to better connect with Liberty Village and handle surge crowds like when a TFC match lets out. There’s a half-completed fifth track, but in the meantime, to go north, you have to walk through dirt and broken asphalt to get to the sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue.

    With the Ontario Line now planned to terminate here, it’s all dependent on that project. That might be why that work specifically is being de-scoped from Lakeshore West, but it doesn’t explain any of the other rail expansion delays.

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  2. Hi Steve, Any insights as to why Metrolinx has confirmed tunnel boring as the method to go from Mount Dennis Station to east of Jane & Eglinton, but ee are advised they are not including the work in the tunnel boring contract now being finalized? We are interested in seeing major construction equipment activity and related traffic conclude as soon as possible and hoping tunneling the 400 metres would be scheduled as early work, not taken into a future contract so area tied up for yet another 10 years. Thanks for looking into this.

    Steve: There is an online Q&A session on April 14. I suggest that you attend and ask about this.

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  3. Hi Steve

    Why is there nothing in this IO report about accessibility building, Eglinton, Long Branch, Mimico, (parts of Exhibition) , & several other GO Stations, have ZERO accessibility at all, is this not a part of IO stuff?

    E

    Steve: The IO reports only deal with contracts that they are managing for financing and procurement. Accessibility might be a component of a project (i.e. elevators on the Crosstown LRT), but not as a line item. Any retrofits of existing stations are unlikely to be done as a P3, except Union Station, and so IO would not be involved.

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