Eglinton Crosstown West Extension tunneling begins

April 12, 2022
Two TBMs will spend the next 20 months digging more than six kilometers of twin tunnels for the subway extension.

Provincial, municipal and transit officials celebrated the start of tunneling of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension on April 11. The 9.2-kilometer (5.7-mile), seven-stop subway extension is one of four priority transit projects of the government of Ontario and will bring rapid transit to Etobicoke and Mississauga.

“Our government is getting it done and delivering the largest subway expansion in Canadian history,” said Ontario Premier Doug Ford. “We are getting shovels in the ground for this historic project and building world-class transit that will make life easier for the people of the [Greater Toronto Area], while supporting the creation of thousands of jobs and spurring economic growth for decades to come.”

The extension will bring the Crosstown LRT further west from Mount Dennis to Renforth Drive with a further extension to Pearson International Airport being explored with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority. The Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will offer connections to UP Express and Kitchener GO Train services, as well as GO Transit, Toronto Transit Commission and MiWay buses.

"This is all good news for our city and our residents. We are working together and getting on with building much-needed transit lines in Toronto that will not only help us move people around our city but connect residents to other parts of the region. The Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will create more opportunities for residents by connecting them to other parts of the city and to places where they can work, play and go to school,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

The TBMs

The more than six kilometers (3.7 miles) of twin tunnels are being dug by two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that launched from a site near Renforth Drive and Eglinton Avenue West in Mississauga. The machines – named Renny and Rexy – will perform their work 20 meters (65.6 feet) below the surface and advance between 10 and 15 meters (32.8 to 49.2 feet) each day. The twin tunnels are expected to take 20 months to be bored.

As the TBMs cut through the ground, they will install tunnel liners to add structure to the tunnels. Metrolinx estimates the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will require 7,400 concrete tunnel rings for the line’s twin tunnels.

"I’m so excited to see the team pressing forward on this project for the people of the GTA. This project and the others that make up our subway program are part of the largest subway expansion in recent history. Together, they will add more than 40 kilometers of new subway service to the region’s transit network and make it much easier to choose transit first," said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster.

West End Connectors is performing the work and was awarded a contract in May 2021. The West End Connectors team includes developers and construction firms Aecon Infrastructure Management Inc., Dragados Canada Inc., Ghella Canada Ltd.; designers TYPSA Inc., EXP Services Inc.; and ACS Infrastructure Canada, Aecon Concessions, Scotiabank Capital, Ghella Investments & Partnerships handling the financial side of the project.

The scope of work includes the supply of the TBMs, installation of the tunnel liners, the design and construction of launch and extraction shafts, tunnels, as well as headwalls for emergency exit buildings and stations and activities necessary to build the tunnel, such as utility relocations, ventilation and drainage.

Once the TBMs reach Scarlett Road, they will be pulled from the ground and moved to a second launch site where they will bore another stretch of tunnels for the project. A Request for Qualifications for the second tunnel package of the project was issued by Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario in December 2021.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction 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.