Finch West LRT marks major milestone as big dig wraps up at Finch West Station

Excavation work is done on one of the major stations along the Finch West LRT projects – one that will serve as an interchange with the TTC subway system. Scroll down to learn more about how much work goes into digging out a transit station. Plus watch the new construction progress video.

Sixteen months of digging and hauling.

That is how long it took a small army of workers, excavators and heavy machinery to finish digging out the new Finch West LRT Station at Keele Street and Finch Avenue West.

Finch West Station will be the interchange between the Finch West light rail transit (LRT) line and TTC Line 1 in northwest Toronto.

So, just how much earth had to be moved to create room for the station?

About 65,000 m3 – enough to fill 26 Olympic-size swimming pools. All of that was trucked away by more than 8,000 dump trucks.

That’s the culmination of nearly a year and a half of digging to reach 20 metres below ground at the site.

Short video showing all of the progress made at the Finch West Station site. (Metrolinx video)

Safety and planning

Before the digging began, a lot of planning took place. The process began by clearing the area and setting up traffic control measures necessary due to heavy pedestrian and motor traffic at Finch Avenue West and Keele Street.

Once the coast was clear, heavy machinery was brought to the site, including pile drivers, different sizes of excavators, bulldozers, track loaders and bobcats. 

Safety and logistical planning then took place with engineers overseeing the installation of deep piles and heavy crossover supporting structures as the dig progressed to ensure the enormous cavern would remain stable and safe for the workers inside.

Looking down into a construction site with machinery and soil in it
More than 26 Olympic-size swimming pools worth of soil was trucked away to make room for the station box. (Metrolinx photo)

As this work progressed, the machines and their operators worked together as a team to dig down and scrape out the contours of the station box, then deliver the dirt to a long-reach excavator which hauled it up to the surface.

“It was a mechanical chess match where dirt, grit, machinery and engineering meet to get the job done safely,” said Roberto Fernandez, Mosaic construction manager, stations and stops.

“We are very excited to complete this huge milestone.”

But the logistics didn’t end when the soil was removed from the station box.

Load after load of excavated earth was brought to surface level and loaded into dump trucks, then hauled to various approved registered disposal sites or other construction sites that require dirt fill. 

A look inside the massive cavern below Finch West Avenue where the future LRT station will be
A look inside the massive cavern below Finch West Avenue where the future LRT station will be. (Metrolinx photo)

“When the last dump truck left the site, the team took a moment to celebrate our achievement,” Fernandez said.

“It was many months of hard work, but the team was relentless in their drive to get the job done quickly and safely. Now we move on to the next task.”

With excavation complete, the team is moving forward with structural work to build up the station, including pouring concrete to install the walls and concourse slabs.

Keep your eyes peeled to Metrolinx News and the Finch West Twitter page for more exciting updates throughout the year.

Story by: Alex Iantorno, Metrolinx communications senior advisor