Keeping the Scarborough Subway Extension moving forward

The Scarborough Subway Extension is edging even closer to construction as drilling and utility relocation crews continue to carry out work along the proposed route. As this project continues to make important advances, here’s a look at what’s already been done and what to expect in the near future.

It’s all about momentum.

Which is needed when the project is adding almost eight kilometres of TTC Line 2 subway service into Scarborough, with stops at Lawrence and McCowan, Scarborough Centre, and Sheppard and McCowan.

That’s three new stops with an estimated 105,000 daily boardings.

Here’s how that momentum shapes up – and is quickly moving forward.

Prep works continue

Important preparatory works, including surveying, utility relocations and geotechnical drilling investigations continue along the project corridor. Last year, crews completed over 120 geotechnical investigations to gather data about soil and water conditions that construction crews can expect to find beneath the surface when building the subway tunnel.

Utility relocations continue to clear the way for construction and prevent future utility disruptions in the community, with utilities in four areas already relocated and four more underway across the project corridor. As the project gets even closer to construction, expect to see even more utility and survey crews busily working across the corridor.

crews parked on the side of the road doing surveying and utility relocation
Surveying and utility relocation work on McCowan Avenue in Scarborough. (Metrolinx photo)

Awarding the tunnelling contract

Apart from labour and sophisticated engineering, there’s also important partnerships that are needed, and a process to get that done.

The three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension is being delivered through two main contracts – the advanced tunnelling contract and the stations and railway and systems contract. The advanced tunnelling contract helps the project kickstart important tunnelling works while design work is finalized on the stations and railway and systems plans for the extension.

In early 2020, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario kicked off procurement and shortlisted three teams to submit their proposals for how they plan to design and deliver the project’s tunnelling.  Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario expect to award the tunnelling contract this spring.

Image of a tunnel built for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT
Image of a tunnel built for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. (Metrolinx photo)

Launch shaft construction

Launch shafts are used to launch tunnel boring machines into the ground so that they can build tunnels below the surface. The launch shaft for the Scarborough Subway Extension will be built on the northeast corner of Sheppard and McCowan. This site will also be the future home of a station, and the launch shaft will also be used to help build the station in the future.

Image of a launch shaft, with tunnel boring machines being lowered, for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
Image of a launch shaft, with tunnel boring machines being lowered, for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. (Metrolinx photo)

If you’ve been by there recently, you’ll notice that Metrolinx has already started putting up fencing around the area – another good sign of all the progress we’ll be making in the near future. Expect to see increased construction activity on this site as soon as this spring as crews prepare to excavate the launch shaft, which will officially kick off construction of the extension. (You read that right, we’ll be breaking ground this spring!) If you live or work near this site, you’ll receive more details about what to expect well before work begins.

Image of new fencing installed at the site of the future Scarborough Subway Extension launch shaft at Sheppard and McCowan.
Image of new fencing installed at the site of the future Scarborough Subway Extension launch shaft at Sheppard and McCowan. (Metrolinx photo)

More station details

Procurement for the stations, rails and systems contract is expected to officially kick off this spring when Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario issue a request for qualifications. Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario are looking for the best local and international bidders to submit proposals on how they could design, build and finance the stations and railway systems for the extension. As designs and details are finalized during procurement, Metrolinx will consult with communities on the updated plans.

A conceptual artist rendering of the underground Caledonia Station for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Expect to see similar renderings for the Scarborough Subway Extension stations in the future.
A conceptual artist rendering of the underground Caledonia Station for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. Expect to see similar renderings for the Scarborough Subway Extension stations in the future. (Metrolinx image)

Keeping you informed and engaged

As the project continues to pick up momentum this year, Metrolinx will continue to host even more opportunities for the community to review plans and share feedback.

Later this year, there will even be exciting opportunities to crowdsource unique names for the tunnel boring machine that will be used to build the tunnel for the project. Metrolinx’s dedicated community relations team continues to be available by phone and email to listen to concerns, provide the latest updates and answer any community questions.

 Visit here for all the latest project details and to get in touch with us.

Story by Joshua Patel, Metrolinx senior advisor, subways