Eglinton Crosstown LRT

TTC projects delay for Eglinton Crosstown LRT

A TTC report regarding LRT project delivery in Toronto warns that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is unlikely to be finished by 2020, the date announced by Metrolinx last month when it endorsed the City's once-controversial light rail plan. According the TTC, a more realistic completion date would be two to three years later than initial projected.

Why the delay? Forgetting the setbacks suffered from Rob Ford's attempt to cancel Transit City (which are already factored into Metrolinx's dates), the crucial issue is that the TTC is no longer responsible for implementation of the project on Metrolinx's behalf. Instead of overseeing a TTC-built project, Metrolinx will instead use Infrastructure Ontario to complete the LRT line.

Because the Infrastructure Ontario uses an Alternative Finance and Procurement (AFP) strategy that involves the private sector, work that the TTC has already done on the project will need to be restarted when a contract is eventually awarded in 2014.

When Metrolinx first floated the idea of using Infrastructure Ontario to deliver the line, agency president Bruce McCuaig insisted that such a change would not impact the projected 2020 completion date. That seems less and less likely. The report that questions the timeline was the result of a peer review with the the American Public Transit Association, so it's not as if the concerns are unfounded.

Along with questions about delivery times, the report also takes issue with schedule of the Crosstown and other LRT projects. "The Metrolinx schedule carries the risk of disproportionate community disruption," it reads. "If all of the stations are designed and constructed in the same timeframe, there will inevitably be major disruption for the length of the underground section on Eglinton. In addition, there will be the cumulative impact across the city with Sheppard East LRT and Finch West LRT construction in the same time period."

That sounds like a recipe for some serious gridlock.

TTC RECOMMENDATIONS FROM APTA PEER REVIEW PANEL

  • A realistic target in-service date of 2022-2023 for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT.
  • Construction should be staged to address community impacts and operational constraints.
  • Sufficient time for commissioning the line should be provided in the schedule.
  • Continue to complete the Crosstown station designs and proceed immediately to DB to stagger the construction and major disruptions on Eglinton.
  • Start construction of the Sheppard East LRT immediately.
  • Start the Finch West LRT construction in 2015 consistent with Provincial cash flow requirements.

  • Start the Scarborough RT construction in 2015 immediately after the Pan/Parapan American Games.

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