Eglinton Crosstown West LRT tunnelling begins in Mississauga, set to finish in 2024

For more than a decade, construction has been occurring on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT. It's scheduled to finish by the end of the year. Nick Westoll looks at this and other transit expansion projects.

Tunnelling on the 9.2-kilometre western extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT between Toronto and Mississauga has officially begun.

Officials from all three levels of government held a groundbreaking ceremony near the intersection of Renforth Drive and Eglinton Avenue West in Mississauga, which is the launch site of the two tunnel-boring machines.

The machines (nicknamed Rexy and Rennie) will move 20 metres below the surface and east at around 10 to 15 metres a day, eventually ending at Scarlett Road where the machines will be moved.

An elevated guideway will be built between Scarlett Road and Jane Street before the trains head underground again to the current western end of the Eglinton Crosstown, Mount Dennis station (just east of Weston Road).

As the tunnel-boring machines move, pre-cast liners made of reinforced concrete are installed while dirt and debris is moved out through a conveyor belt and trucked away.

RELATED: Eglinton Crosstown completion, Ontario Line groundbreaking among 2022 Toronto transit plans

The extension is set to be completed by 2030 or 2031 and will have stations at Renforth Drive, Martin Grove Road, Kipling Avenue, Islington Avenue, Royal York Road, Scarlett Road and Jane Street.

Officials noted discussions are underway to potentially bring the western extension to Toronto Pearson International Airport to the north, but a firm commitment hasn’t been made.

The main Eglinton Crosstown LRT section, which runs between Mount Dennis and Kennedy stations and has been under construction for nearly a decade, is set to open by the end of 2022.

While Monday’s event had representatives from all three levels of government, it marks the latest recent transit-related announcement for the Ford government ahead of the June 2 provincial election.

Among the recent announcements was a ground-breaking for the Ontario Line subway, a project initiated by the provincial government, at the end of March. It also came a day after a $75-million announcement to bring back Ontario Northland train service between Toronto and Timmins, which was cancelled in 2012.

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