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By the numbers: The Strachan Overpass project

Posted by Chris Bateman / March 13, 2013

strachan avenue underpassWorkers have been pounding away in a trench near Strachan Avenue since early 2011, busily burying a short stretch of Union station rail corridor as part of the GO transit Georgetown South project. When it's finished, the tracks that used to cross Strachan via a level crossing will be buried out of sight in an 8-metre hole beneath the street.

Late last month Metrolinx announced it would shortly begin construction on a new bridge over the grade separation that will eventually become part of Strachan Ave., signaling the project is past the half way stage. Right now the road is open but traffic is following a slight diversion. The project is due to wrap in the fall of 2014.

Here's a closer look at the project by the numbers:

  • DURATION OF PROJECT: 2011-2014 (projected)
  • LENGTH OF TRENCH: 1.4 kilometres (King Street West to Bathurst Street)
  • SIZE OF OVERPASS: 19m width X 42m length
  • MAXIMUM DEPTH: 8 metres
  • DIRT DISPLACED: Over 70,000 cubic meters
  • PILES USED: Approx. 1,500 (drilled 10-20m deep for watertight depressed corridor)
  • TUNNEL BORING MACHINES USED: 1 (to create a 520 meter long Siphon tunnel)
  • PUMPING STATIONS: 1 (a dedicated station is necessary for drainage)
  • BIKE LANES: 2 (hooray!)
  • ANTI-GRAFFITI COATING: To be applied to all wall surfaces
  • PUBLIC ART PROJECTS: 1 (on the temporary retaining wall at Strachan Avenue)


strachan avenue underpassThe north trench as it appears now

strachan avenue underpassRendering of the finished product

strachan avenue underpassClose-up of trench "roof" and Strachan overpass

Got a project you'd like to see broken down by the numbers? Let us know in the comments.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Images: Vik Pahwa/blogTO Flickr pool and Metrolinx



Stan Smith / March 13, 2013 at 01:58 pm
Looks pretty cool!
What is that pedestrian bridge to the east of the bridge?
Is it part of the project? When will it be built and where does it go?
Plens / March 13, 2013 at 01:59 pm
It looks like all those slats are there solely to disguise the fact that the whole diversion project is for just one twenty foot wide stretch of roadway.
Lex / March 13, 2013 at 02:42 pm
I overlook this project (you can actually see my home in one of the photos) and it's a nightmare. I can't wait until they are finished. It's been going on forever.

Also Strachan isn't closed (unless they have closed it since I crossed it this morning on the way to work!)
the lemur replying to a comment from Stan Smith / March 13, 2013 at 03:03 pm
That's a rendering of one of two ped/bike bridges intended to go from Liberty Village to Fort York (to replace the single Fort York bridge that council rejected). Different project, still at the consultation stage.
Pk replying to a comment from Plens / March 13, 2013 at 03:13 pm
Sure, a twenty-foot roadway that connects almost ten thousand Torontonians living in Liberty Village to King Street. Kinda crucial.
Craig replying to a comment from Plens / March 13, 2013 at 03:18 pm
The purpose is to eliminate any train vs. car/pedestrian interactions that could delay the airport rail link trains.
Joseph replying to a comment from Pk / March 13, 2013 at 03:19 pm
Love this stats stuff. Would love to see a post on the Spadina Subway Extension.
Ford4ever replying to a comment from Plens / March 13, 2013 at 03:24 pm
"It looks like all those slats are there solely to disguise the fact that the whole diversion project is for just one twenty foot wide stretch of roadway."

Correct. But when you consider how busy Strachan is now, and how busy that rail corridor is about to become, separating grades makes sense.

Lots of factors governed/limited the design, like the need for shallow approaches to the overpass (road intersections at both ends of it) and the fact that the rail lines need to sink/rise very quickly on departure from/approach to the Queen St. bridge to the west (trains can't climb/descend steep grades).

This is probably the simplest engineering solution to a very complex problem.
PL / March 13, 2013 at 03:24 pm
The renderings have omitted some of the sky-high condos that tower over Liberty....
phil / March 13, 2013 at 03:40 pm
Any way you look at it, having a level crossing in the densely-populated core of a big city is nuts.
Nick replying to a comment from Lex / March 13, 2013 at 03:44 pm
@Lex, it's a very complicated project and has to be done in stages as the Metrolinx request for proposal stated that the rail lines and roads needed to be functional for most of the construction period. That's why it's taking longer than you might imagine. Buck up, it'll be done soon. Can't build infrastructure overnight, you know!
Jay / March 13, 2013 at 03:50 pm
It's too bad they couldn't have just covered the trench with parkland instead of the trench roof structure.
Toronto Artists / March 13, 2013 at 03:51 pm
It's retarded there using an anti-graffiti paint on here, it's part of OUR city, we should be allowed to make it OURS. It's our responsibility to make this city beautiful and boring flat gray paint just aint gonna cut it metrolinx.
mark replying to a comment from Toronto Artists / March 13, 2013 at 04:52 pm
Paint your own building and walls whatever you like. Leave other people's property alone. That is decidedly not yours and you have no right to leave your markings on it.
GO Train Engineer / March 13, 2013 at 05:02 pm
To Toronto Artists, I love graffiti too, but the clearances in the trench will be tight. This corridor will be really busy when its done and the last thing I want to do is come around the corner and see a tagger with no escape route.
Mayor McBolivian Marching Powder replying to a comment from Ford4ever / March 13, 2013 at 05:22 pm
Agreed! This is a crucial corridor for both rail and car traffic. Like it or not, this is probably the most efficient means to get the job done.

Mayor Ford (offscreen): Like using a rolled up dollar bill to do lines???

MMMP: Um...yes. Sorta like that.

Mayor Ford: Hotdiggity!!

Mark Moore / March 13, 2013 at 05:26 pm

Any idea of the cost of this little project ?
Mark Moore Nitpicks replying to a comment from Mark Moore / March 13, 2013 at 05:29 pm
Whatever it cost, it is worth it. Liberty Village only has two routes in an out, and waiting for trains was unacceptable.

Let's hope they put another bridge in mid-Village.

Hopefully an expensive one, with gold leaf and automated sidewalks. One that makes taxpayers from the 'burbs subsidize its' cost. I like those best.
torontodude replying to a comment from Jay / March 13, 2013 at 06:23 pm
yeah you have to wonder...was an estimate even done to find out what it would have cost to roof it over in parkland? yet another missed opportunity to create a liveable city indeed
cokeman replying to a comment from Plens / March 13, 2013 at 06:54 pm
They're also expanding the railway corridor to add in the dedicated track for the air-rail link - Union Station to Pearson Airport
W. K. Lis / March 13, 2013 at 08:17 pm
Like leaves on a tree, I'm assuming that the trench "roof" will act as a way to break down the sound of the diesel trains as the pass.
Robert replying to a comment from Plens / March 14, 2013 at 03:26 pm
This project also includes a grade separation for two intersecting railways. One will now go under the other, preventing delays caused by freight trains.
Mark Moore / March 15, 2013 at 11:12 pm

wow - simple question to ask. At least I have the ability to use my own name.
här / April 12, 2013 at 05:37 am
I know this really is extremely boring and you are usually skipping to succeeding comment, however I just needed to throw that you big thanks a lot you settled some points personally!
Mikey replying to a comment from torontodude / April 18, 2013 at 09:46 pm
Roof it over in parkland? Seriously?! The waterfront park is only THREE BLOCKS AWAY! And the park at Fort York is ONE BLOCK!
Joseph / January 1, 2014 at 02:28 am
I drop a leave a response whenever I appreciate a post on
a website or if I have something to valuable to contribute to the discussion.
Usually it is a result of the fire displayed in the article I looked at.

And after this post By the numbers: The Strachan Overpass project.
I was moved enough to create a thought :-) I actually do have 2 questions for you if it's allright.

Could it be only me or do a few of the remarks come across like coming from brain dead folks?

:-P And, if you are writing on other social sites,
I'd like to follow you. Could you list all of your community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?
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