The Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit (LRT) project marked a significant milestone in late April with the lift and move of the two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) tunneling the western segment of the 10-km underground tunnel.
The TBMs, Dennis and Lea, tunneling from the west officially reached the half-way point of their journey in January when they arrived at Allen Road. In order to bypass the TTC subway line located in this area, now both Dennis and Lea need to be extracted from the ground, moved across Eglinton Avenue, and re-inserted on the eastern side of Allen Road.
“It’s great to see we’ve reached another milestone on this important transit project that will benefit Toronto riders,” said Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation. “This project is proof of our government’s commitment to making the daily commute and quality of life better for Ontario families.”
The TBMs are 10 m long, 6.5 m in diameter and weigh approximately 400 tonnes each. A large gantry crane will hoist each machine and load it onto a self-propelled trailer specially designed to move each TBM. This trailer (or “dolly”) has 13 rows of six wheels. Once the TBM is loaded onto the dolly, it will move 100 m east on Eglinton where another gantry crane will unload the TBM and lower it into the launch shaft.
“The progress we’re seeing on this project is very exciting – a true reflection of the important investments in transit made in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA),” said Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx. “The Eglinton Crosstown LRT is a significant undertaking and it will transform the transit landscape in Toronto when complete.”
The TBMs were be lifted and moved one at a time in the early morning hours of Saturday, April 18, and Sunday, April 19.
Once Dennis and Lea are re-launched on the eastern side of Allen Road, both machines will continue their tunnel drives east toward Yonge Street to complete the 6.5-km western segment of the Crosstown tunnel. They have already travelled 3,547 m from where they started at Black Creek Drive. Each TBM installed 14,124 precast concrete tunnel liners, which formed 2,367 rings, for a total of 4,734 rings to form the eastbound and westbound tunnels.
The Eglinton Crosstown project represents a $5.3 billion (2010$) transit improvement investment by the Government of Ontario, which will create tens of thousands of design and construction jobs. When in service, the Crosstown will bring new fast, reliable and comfortable transit to Toronto residents, integrated with existing TTC and GO Transit services.
Construction on the Crosstown began in 2011 with the west launch area at Black Creek Drive and Eglinton Avenue. Dennis and Lea began tunneling from the west in June 2013. Humber and Don, the TBMs that will dig the east tunnels, will begin their drives in late fall 2015, once construction of the east launch shaft is complete at Eglinton Avenue and Brentcliffe Road.