The provincial government of Ontario is advancing a light-rail extension as part of a multibillion-dollar effort to expand public transit in the province. Officials issued a request for qualifications March 25 for the fourth and final contract on the estimated $3.5-billion Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.

The project will add about 5.7 miles to Metrolinx’s 11.8-mile Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which is scheduled to open later this year. The first section of the line is set to include 25 stations on a route connecting east and west Toronto through midtown. The extension, which is already under construction, would expand the line beyond the original western end at Mount Dennis and add seven more stations going into Etobicoke and Mississauga. About 4 miles of the extension would be underground, and most of the remaining portion is planned to be elevated.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario plan to award a progressive design-build contract for the final piece of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. The scope of work would include construction of the seven stations, installation of track and systems, road modifications and other work. Responses to the RFQ are due by June 21.

“With procurement starting for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension’s stations, rail and systems contract—and tunneling progressing more every day, we’re even closer to helping people travel quickly and efficiently between Toronto, Mississauga and Etobicoke,” said Michael Lindsay, president and CEO of Infrastructure Ontario, in a statement.

Tunneling work by West End Connectors on the first approximately $540-million P3 contract began in April 2022. West End Connectors is a team of Aecon Infrastructure Management Inc., Dragados Canada Inc. and Ghella Canada Ltd. with design by TYPSA Inc. and EXP Services Inc. The contractors are using two tunnel boring machines, and Metrolinx officials said last month that the first eastbound TBM is about halfway through the planned 3.7-mile distance covered under the contract. 

In December, officials selected Aecon Infrastructure Management Inc. for the second phase of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, which covers design and construction of a nearly 1-mile elevated guideway. Metrolinx has not shared a cost for the work. Construction on the guideway is expected to start later this year. 

The third contract covers design and construction of a 1,640-ft-long tunnel at the eastern end of the extension. Metrolinx selected Strabag Inc. last month for the work, though officials have not shared cost details. 

eglinton_crosstown_west_extension_ENR.jpgMap courtesy of Metrolinx

The Eglinton Crosstown LRT and its west extension would connect to various other bus and rail lines along its route, and Ontario officials say they expect it will host about 69,700 rides daily. Phil Verster, president and CEO of Metrolinx, said in a statement that the new stations along the extension would bring transit stops to within walking distance of about 37,500 people. 

Ontario officials have pledged to invest the equivalent of more than $50 billion over the next decade to improve public transit. Construction is also underway on the 9.7-mile Ontario Line subway. Officials also have plans to extend additional subway lines and are considering another extension of the Eglinton Crosstown line to connect to Toronto Pearson International Airport.