Photo Courtesy of TTC
A $2.5-billion subway extension is facing at least two years of delay.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), seeking to minimize existing schedule overruns, has entered into an $80-million sole-source management agreement with Bechtel Canada for the remainder of the $2.5-billion Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE), which will provide an 8.6- kilometer link between the city of Toronto and its neighboring authority, the Regional Municipality of York.

In March, Sameh Ghaly, TTC chief capital officer, and Andy Bertolo, chief project manager, were axed. Then, the city council approved an additional $150 million to support the sole-source contract and implement other recommendations from a recent report by TTC staff. That report was based on external reviews by the American Public Transportation Association and Bechtel.

The six-station project, which, so far, has featured multiple excavations by four tunnel-boring machines (ENR 7/29/13 p. 42), originally was slated to complete this year. TTC now hopes that, with Bechtel's management, the completion date will be no later than Dec. 31, 2017.

Four options were discussed in the report. Of the options, two involved third-party engineering participation. The report concluded that a TYSSE opening date set at even the end of 2016 was not possible.

TTC responded to ENR's request for comment with a statement: "While it is not TTC policy to discuss personnel matters, it had become clear to the writers of the report that a change of leadership was necessary to advance the project."

For the TTC, there are several advantages to selecting Bechtel. The new set-up, for example, allows a full reset of the TTC-contractor relationship. Bechtel will receive incentives to deliver the project on time and on budget. Other factors include settling cost claims by the end of the year and beginning of operations on the line by 2017.

Staying with the status quo of TTC project management would mean a schedule overrun, to 2019, and cost $185 million, according to the report. Putting out a request for proposals for a project management contract would cost about $180 million and delay the project to 2018.

Bechtel's contract terminates on March 31, 2018; once appointed, the project director will report direct to Andy Byrford, CEO of TTC.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, representing 10,000 Toronto transit workers, issued a statement that decried the failure to put out an RFP and called the sole-bid decision "a misguided attempt to gain a few months on a critical segment of infrastructure that will likely last more than a hundred years."

"We're not disputing that TTC management needs to be saved from its incompetence," stated Bob Kinnear, the union's president. Emphasizing Bechtel's role in Boston's Central Artery/Tunnel management, he added, "We're troubled, however, that a company with an apparently sketchy record—like Bechtel—is being cast as the savior in this civic drama of taxpayer fleecing."