Bridging across Toronto’s Don River for the Ontario Line

As Ontario Line construction proceeds, people will see a new landmark by the waterfront. A bridge, next to the one currently used by GO trains, will carry Ontario Line passengers over the Don River. Metrolinx has released an early works report outlining first steps for building the bridge and giving the pubic an opportunity to comment on the plan.

Imagine enjoying the view of the Toronto skyline and Don River from your seat on a brand-new subway train.

The Ontario Line subway will cross the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) and the Lower Don River on a bridge with an attractive arched design that will make a new landmark for the city.

A new, arched bridge will carry Ontario Line trains over the Don Valley Parkway and the Don River. (Metrolinx image)

Today (June 22), Metrolinx issued a draft early works report that documents the environmental assessment for the bridge. This report is an important part of the public consultation process, with summaries of the report findings as well as bridge renderings and conceptual site plan available for the public to review and weigh in on at Metrolinx Engage.

The bridge will be built on the north side of the current GO bridge.

“The arches of the new bridge will make for an elegant and attractive structure, something that will be appreciated by everyone enjoying the lower Don Valley and the nearby section of our waterfront,” said John Potter from the Metrolinx design division.

The arch design also takes the surrounding landscape into consideration.

“It ties in with its surroundings in the East Waterfront, including the new bridges to the south of it, built by Waterfront Toronto for the Port Lands project, which are also arch structures,” said Andre Marois, the Metrolinx director of corridor infrastructure.

Aside from being visually appealing, the arch design is also environmentally responsible.

“It is the most efficient way of spanning the Don River and DVP in a way that does not require any piers within the river,” Potter said. “We do not want to add any structures that may disrupt the flow of floodwaters into Lake Ontario.”

There may be some structures, like scaffolding, used temporarily during construction. Metrolinx will be working with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) on this and other aspects of the plan to ensure that impacts are reduced to the greatest extent possible.

“We are clear spanning over the DVP and Don River and working with the TRCA to ensure there are no flood concerns,” said Maria Zintchenko, a project manager at Metrolinx.

In addition to bridge construction, there will be minor modifications of the existing GO bridge and GO tracks within the neighbouring Don Yard to accommodate portals that will be added so Ontario Line trains can come out of the ground to reach the bridge.

Work within the Don Yard could begin as early as this fall. Work to build bridge abutments will start in 2022.

This will be one of two Ontario Line bridges crossing the Don. A bridge further north, between stations at Cosburn Avenue and Thorncliffe Park, will provide a spectacular aerial view of both the Don River and the Don Valley. You will see more details on environmental assessments and designs for the northern bridge in future postings on Metrolinx News.

Similar to the early works reports already released for the Corktown and Exhibition stations, the Lower Don Bridge and Don Yard draft Early Works Report outlines the environmental assessment process and the construction works planned for the new bridge and the Don Yard, which includes potential impacts and proposed solutions. The release launches a 30-day review period where the public is encouraged to review the report and its summaries and provide feedback on the findings.

Within 35 days following the public review period, Metrolinx will publish the final early works report that will include and address public feedback. Then the report will be sent to the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for review and approval before work can begin.

The report can be found here, and people can send their comments to ontarioline@metrolinx.com or through Metrolinx Engage.

Story by Mike Winterburn, Metrolinx News senior writer