Inside a large cavern, machinery works to dig away at holes.

Reaching way down – Oakwood Station build calls on remote control solution

Progress on the Eglinton Crosstown continues as we head further west. Next up, the westernmost of the three mined stations along the line, Oakwood Station.

If you mine a cave, deep below the city, how do you make the connection between top and bottom?

With a remote control crane that’s the ultimate version of an amusement prize claw – a unique system that tethers two busy worlds.

A crane works inside a massive cavern that's been dug out below an active part of the city. Shown are concrete and earth walls, circling platforms and machines.
Mining continues for Oakwood Station. The workers in the lift give a sense of scale as to the massive size of the cavern.

Located at the Eglinton Avenue West and Oakwood Avenue intersection, Oakwood Station is being constructed in a way that involves forming a cavern underneath an active roadway, allowing for less disruption at street level.

Inside a large cavern, machinery works to dig away at holes.
Far below the active street-level, crews and machinery continue to carve out the Earth.

The mining process involves prior completion of the entrance excavation. Specialized equipment is then used to drill supports and mine a cavern, or giant cave, horizontally under the roadway. For more information on the mining that is being done for the Eglinton Crosstown, watch this mining 101 video.

Mining work at Oakwood Station began following the completion of the entrance excavation in late 2017. To date, the team has mined just under 27 metres out of a total 111 metres for the main cavern. Mining will continue throughout the year and into 2020 as the station prepares for its grand opening in 2021.

Oakwood Station is another unique station for the Eglinton Crosstown. Given the station’s small footprint, the space where construction is taking place does not allow for a standard tower crane. Behold the ‘gantry’ crane. The station was the first site in Canada to use this overhead crane, which operates by remote control directly over the excavated site on a custom-built frame.

Rather than a high crane, a lowe-level green gantry system sits directly over the construction hole.
The Green Monster. No, not that Green Monster. We call this one the ‘gantry’ crane, which is a remotely operated crane that sits on a custom-built frame directly over the station’s excavated site.

The station will have two entrances – the main on the north side of Eglinton and Oakwood Avenue and the secondary one on the south side of Eglinton between Oakwood Avenue and Times Road.

An artist rendering shows Oakwood Station as people and vehicles move on sidewalks and streets nearby.
In this artist rendering, the Oakwood Station will find a seamless home at street level. But what has been created below ground is the most amazing part.

The station will also include 24 outdoor bicycle parking spots and on-street connections to the TTC bus that will help connect you to your destination.

To continue the Crosstown Progress tour onto the next stop, sit back and click here.

Story by Erika D’Urbano, Metrolinx communications specialist.