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Leaside residents brace for Eglinton LRT construction

Residents and businesses on a busy stretch of Eglinton Avenue in Leaside are bracing for at least two years of construction on a light-rail transit line.

Crews have begun clearing hydro poles and widening Eglinton to get ready for the daunting task of digging the tunnel for the Crosstown.

Lane restrictions are already in place between Leslie Street and Laird Drive, where the excavation shaft will go.

The tunnel-boring machines will be assembled right in the shaft this summer and then drilling will start on the underground portion stretching from Laird to Yonge Street.

“The reality is we’re building a significant infrastructure project in an already heavily congested area and that poses challenge,” said Metrolinx spokesman Jamie Robinson.

“We know this will have a tremendous impact on commuters and the local community.”

Business owners in the area fear a repeat of what happened on St. Clair Avenue West during the construction of the streetcar right-of-way.

“A lot of businesses here are gonna be very affected,” said Lui Lavecchia, owner of Leaside Barber Shop.

“They’re gonna cut off a lot of business here — the traffic and no parking. So we gotta do the best [we can]. I hope my business doesn’t go down much.”

Two other machines started tunnelling east from Black Creek Drive to Yonge Street last year, with a break at the Allen Expressway.

The underground portion of the Crosstown will be 10 kilometres long, while the other nine kilometres will run at ground level or on an elevated track.

The $5.3-billion project, to be operated by the TTC, will have 25 stations and start service in 2020.

Click on map to enlarge.

The $5.3-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT will have 25 stations and start service in 2020. METROLINX
The $5.3-billion Eglinton Crosstown LRT will have 25 stations and start service in 2020. METROLINX