A breakthrough on Highway 401 and 409 Rail Tunnels Project – See the video as crews break through on one of the tunnels

A sight to see as crews broke through the end of Tunnel One on the Highway 401 and 409 Rail Tunnels Project. Months of excavation and hard work delivers a memorable moment.

After months of digging through debris, solid ground and dirt, crews have successfully reached the light at the end of Tunnel One.

It was a much anticipated milestone and a key achievement for the project. Metrolinx’s contractor, Toronto Tunnel Partners, filmed the breakthrough so you can get in on this incredible experience.

Image shows light at the end of a rocky tunnel.

From end to end – After months of continuous digging, crews punch through a solid ground barrier at the end of Tunnel One. (Metrolinx photo).

Tunnel One is approximately 180 metres long with a diameter measuring 11 metres, which is about 36 feet – taller than an average three storey home.

A tunnel of this size had a substantial amount of ground removed.

Approximately 35,000 cubic metres of material were hauled away by trucks in a very organized and timely sequence to keep the project progressing as efficiently as possible. The sheer volume of material removed could fill 14 Olympic sized swimming pools.

Since October 2019, crews have been hard at work and managed to complete the excavation for the first of two tunnels.

Tunnel Two is progressing well and digging continues as planned.

Metrolinx is constructing twin tunnels, less than three metres underneath Highways 401 and 409 – all without disrupting the continuous traffic flow above.

When the project is complete, the total length of the two rail tunnels combined will be approximately 360 metres.

Image shows large rocks in the tunnel, with a digger nearby.

From end to end – After months of continuous digging, crews punch through a solid ground barrier at the end of Tunnel One. (Metrolinx photo).

The new tunnels will allow Metrolinx to build two additional tracks in the future. This infrastructure supports GO Expansion and will transform rush hour commuter service to two-way, all-day train service on the Kitchener line.

For more information or sign up for e-newsletter updates by emailing TorontoWest@metrolinx.com.

To see the previous story on this project, just click here.

Story by Teresa Ko, Metrolinx senior advisor