toronto construction

People in Toronto livid that the public has to pay for $25 million construction site slipup

A pricey piece of construction equipment stuck metres underground is peak Toronto, residents are saying, as costs and delays continue to compound in a stunning display of construction site inefficiency that we are no strangers to in this city.

A project to dig a new storm sewer under Old Mill Drive has somehow turned into a $25 million affair, with the boring machine used to cut through the earth now stuck in a mess of steel after it hit underground tiebacks affixed to the foundation of a neighbouring condo building more than a year ago.

This is a huge jump from a cost estimate of $9 million made in March, and people are now wondering who the hell is paying for the error (it's taxpayers via the city, and no one is happy about it).

Aside from a few hilarious jokes about what would have happened if it was not a boring, but a fun machine and calling the country Cantada due to ludcrous incidents such as these, the reaction to the news has been an overwhelming "wtf" in amazement at the incompetence of work crews and the city.

Everyone is also confused about why it is not the company operating the device or other stakeholders — surveyors or even the developer of the condo whose tiebacks are involved — who have to pay for the snafu rather than the public.

As one person put it, "if I contract a company to pave my driveway I don't pay to have their bulldozer unstuck if it gets stuck."

People are also saying the situation "pretty much summarizes the incompetence of city leadership and workers" and is just another demonstration of how "our city is a shit show."

Some are also wondering if it's possible to just leave the machine where it is and buy a new one to finish the job, which could be far more cost-effective and less work.

One resident even offered to retrieve the five-meter-long apparatus himself with a backhoe and steelcutter for $5,000.

It is estimated that the machine will finally resurface — with the help of pricey  ground improvement and stabilization experts — next month. The remainder of the sewer work should be done come fall.

Lead photo by

City of Toronto


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