Finch West LRT update: Digging now done at Humber College Station

Check out the new photos and video from the front lines of the Finch West LRT construction. Crews recently finished digging out Humber College Station and the amount of dirt they moved will blow you away.

After 18 months of challenging work, excavation is complete at the Finch West light rail transit (LRT) project’s Humber College Station.

More than 200,000 m3 of soil was removed from both the station box and the portal area that leads into the station from Finch Avenue West.

It is by far the biggest dig on the Finch West LRT project.

The last of 25,000 the dump truck loads left site late last month – which is equivalent to 3,150 shipping containers or 80 Olympic-size swimming pools of dirt.

Urban excavation and logistical challenges

Accomplishing this feat was no easy task.

It required excavating underneath two roof structures for Highway 27, which were built from the top down and connect the portal to the station structure under Humber College Boulevard.

Humber College Station is being constructed in an area with heavy traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian.

In addition to the nearby community, there is both a hospital and college within walking distance, creating a complex streetscape that requires a heightened focus on safety.

a close look at the bottom of the excavation with dirt and bulldozers
More than 200,000 m3 of soil was removed from the Humber College Station construction site. (Metrolinx photo)

Engineers and operators installed deep piles and support-of-excavation structures to ensure the site was as safe as possible for workers and the nearby community. In addition, rigorous traffic and pedestrian control measures were put in place to maintain public safety around the big dig.

Heavy machinery was brought in to carve out the earth for the new station and its portal connection.

Excavators worked in tandem with dump trucks and other vehicles to quickly dig out the site for the future LRT line – all while traffic flowed down Highway 27 just metres away.

“Finch Avenue West is busy enough, but excavating a below-surface light rail transit station next to a major hospital and a busy college requires strong safety processes and a lot of attention to detail,” said Eric Chiasson, Mosaic Transit Group’s construction manager for the site.

Construction site in a deep pit with walls all shored up
To make room for the future station, more than 80 Olympic-size swimming pools of dirt was removed. (Metrolinx photo)

“We excavated around and underneath storm sewers, water mains, communication lines and high-voltage power cables, dug under a busy roadway and overcame so many logistical challenges to get to this point. I am very proud of my team – they love their work and because they took this challenge seriously, they are delivering incredible results.”

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Story by Alex Iantorno, Metrolinx communications senior advisor