Never-used Eglinton Crosstown LRT station platform ripped up due to uneven concrete

As Toronto awaits news on an opening date of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, construction crews are tearing up a new station platform. Nick Westoll has more on why Metrolinx staff say it's being done and the calls for accountability.

As the yet-to-be-opened Eglinton Crosstown LRT enters its 12th year amid ongoing uncertainty about the Toronto transit line’s opening date, construction crews are currently in the process of digging up the platform of an east-end station due to uneven concrete.

CityNews was contacted by a Victoria Village neighbourhood resident who said earlier in April a covered fence went up around the entire above-ground platform at Sloane station, located on Eglinton Avenue East just east of Sloane Avenue and Bermondsey Road. The resident, who asked not to be publicly identified, also said they heard some jackhammering noises, but they weren’t been able to find out why the work was being done.

In photos provided to CityNews, they said they’ve been documenting the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT line in their neighbourhood and noted it was in 2020 when the platform was first built.

A CityNews crew visited the station on Thursday and saw a jackhammer being used to dig up the platform along with crews bringing out large chunks of concrete in a wheelbarrow, dumping the items into a Bobcat machine and then the discarded items being put into a dumpster.

Metrolinx, the provincial transportation agency overseeing the private-sector consortium responsible for building the line (Crosslinx), issued an online notice on Friday — the same day CityNews made inquiries about the construction. It said work is underway to repair “an uneven layer of concrete” and that the work, which is scheduled to take place over the course of a month, “requires chipping of the platform and placing new concrete.”

“This is just another boondoggle in the whole entire project from start to finish,” Jay Goldberg, the Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, told CityNews when asked about the situation at Sloane station, pointing to budgetary and time increases for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project.

“I started my undergraduate degree when they were starting this project. I finished my Ph.D. and they’re still working on this project. I mean, it’s unbelievable how long this has gone on.”


Ottawa Centre NDP MPP Joel Harden, who is also the party’s transit critic, said from his perspective, this is the latest in a broader series of issues facing the Crosstown project — one he said that has similarities to Ottawa’s flawed LRT system.

“We know that the secrecy in the way the project was built led to major problems. We’ve heard from engineering experts (during a judicial inquiry into Ottawa’s LRT system) … saying if the problems were identified and collectively resolved at the time, this would have worked much better,” he said.

For more than a year, CityNews has been tracking the project and has tried multiple times to get information on when the LRT line will open and what specifically has been preventing public operations. The Ford government hasn’t provided answers to many specific questions asked, saying generally they want the Eglinton Crosstown to open as soon as possible and when it is safe to do so. In February, CityNews reported how political staff rejected efforts by Metrolinx staff to tell the public more about issues plaguing the line.

Harden said the Ontario government and Metrolinx need to be more transparent about what’s going on with the project.

“It really seems that the Ford government’s approach has been to try to find someone to blame,” he told CityNews.

“The public wants to ride this LRT the public is paying for this LRT they have a right to know what’s going on here so we can have better transparency and fix it.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Goldberg.

“Show us exactly what’s going on with the mistakes that are being made, and the fact that they’re not being transparent tells me that there is a very good chance that some of what’s gone wrong actually has gone wrong over the past four years, not just the past 12,” he said.

Quality control process identified Sloane station platform issue: Metrolinx

CityNews asked Metrolinx on Friday what specifically was wrong with the station, what inspection and quality control measures were in place when the platform was built years ago, how the problem got missed, and what’s the cost to fix the issues.

A brief statement issued by Metrolinx staff Monday afternoon didn’t elaborate on the background, but said the matter was identified proactively.

“Crews are currently working on the Sloane platform to perform repairs on a section of concrete that was identified through our strict quality control and inspection process,” the statement said.

“There are no costs to the taxpayer as this work is part of the existing project contract requirements.”

Sources familiar with the work being done told CityNews the original grading of the concrete caused issues with water ponding on the platform.


Goldberg said with the Crosstown projected to end up costing billions of dollars more than originally anticipated, he questioned how deficiencies are ultimately being paid for.

“If everything was left to the contractor, the cost of building this wouldn’t have gone up,” he said.

“This is real tax dollars that are going down on this project.”

Harden shared the concern about who will pay for overruns and defects in the end while pushing for greater public tendering versus a private model.

“A private company is going to cut costs somewhere else to make up for what they had to spend for unanticipated costs,” he said.

“A private contractor, if they rack up on unanticipated costs during the construction of a project, is just going to find a way with less service with fewer staff on site to make up for what they lost because they’re accountable to their shareholders and they have to make money for their shareholders — that’s the DNA of a private company.”

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