Settlement reached for Eglinton Crosstown LRT; no opening date set

Dec. 27, 2021
Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario say the project’s construction and systems scope will be substantially complete by September 2022 with service following “several months later.”

The 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) Eglinton Crosstown Light-Rail Transit (LRT) project will be substantially completed by September 2022 per an agreement between the project’s contractors, Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario, but no service date has been set and will likely not occur until early 2023.

The C$325 million (US$253.77 million) settlement between Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario resolves claims on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project and prevents future claims from being made.

CTS, a consortium of Dragados Canada, Aecon, EllisDon and SNC Lavalin, was awarded a contract valued at C$9.1 billion (US$7.11 billion) in 2015 to design, construct, finance and maintain the 25-station line for 30 years. At the time of the contract, Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx noted “projects of this size and complexity commonly carry risks of added costs.” However, the entities explained the delivery model would “protect taxpayers by transferring significant risks to the private sector.”

What none of the parties could anticipate was the COVID-19 pandemic, which the province points to as the source of significant schedule delays.

“The most significant schedule delay impacts have been COVID-19 and an existing structural defect at the Eglinton Line 1 Station, as well as a number of technical claims,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster and Infrastructure Ontario President and CEO Michael Lindsay in a joint statement. “Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario continue to strongly disagree with any finding of claim entitlement for COVID-19 causes under the CTS Project Agreement and are appealing the court’s decision.”

The settlement will see CTS substantially complete the project’s construction and systems scope by the end of 2022, but service could be “several months later.”

“The Eglinton Crosstown Line is progressing well and is nearing completion. The rail vehicles have been delivered and are being tested on the line. The last parts of the track were installed this November and the stations work is proceeding to completion. The testing of the rail vehicles will continue into next year, along with the installation of the train signals and communications systems that enable safe train movements,” Verster and Lindsay said.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario note they will continue to track the performance of CTS in 2022 and reiterated the complexity of delivering large scale projects.

“While challenging, the Eglinton Crosstown Line is both a hugely exciting and a very significant transit addition in the city,” Verster and Lindsay said.

When it does open, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will link 54 bus routes, three subway stations and various GO Transit lines and provide a 60 percent faster connection between Toronto’s east and west sides.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.