Search begins for teams to build Yonge North Subway Extension tunnels

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government has launched a search for teams to build the Yonge North Subway extension tunnels. A request for qualifications (RFQ) was released this week, bringing the project a step closer to getting shovels in the ground on major construction.

Work includes designing the tunnels, supplying the tunnel boring machines, and building the launch shaft and extraction shaft that will be used to lower the tunnel boring machines into the ground and bring them to the surface again.

The RFQ also includes design and construction of the walls that will support the underground stations and emergency exit buildings and relocating existing utilities along the route.

The successful tunnelling team will dig out the tunnel for the subway extension that will bring TTC Line 1 service to Vaughan, Markham and Richmond Hill.

The announcement follows news of important progress on the approximately eight-kilometre extension. Work has started at Finch Station on early upgrades to accommodate future subway service.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario will review the submissions made through the advance tunneling RFQ and will create a shortlist of qualified teams that will be invited to bid on the tunnelling contract through a request for proposals. Companies interested in bidding on this tunneling contract must register with www.merx.com to download the RFQ. IO and Metrolinx will evaluate RFQ submissions and shortlist teams to be invited to respond to a request for proposals.

“This is a great step forward for the Yonge North Subway Extension and the overall multi-billion dollar transit expansion underway across Toronto,” said Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie. “This will ensure we have shovels in the ground as quickly as possible and shows the positive difference that can be made when all governments – municipal, provincial and federal – work together to expand transit for our residents.”

Work will include designing the tunnels and building the launch and extraction shafts that will be used for the tunnel boring machines. It also includes the design and construction of headwalls for stations and emergency exit buildings. To deliver the new subway as quickly as possible, tunnelling will begin first, followed by a separate contract to build the stations, rail and systems.

Early work on the Yonge North Subway extension is currently underway at Finch Station, where workers are making upgrades to accommodate the future subway service. Once complete, the approximately eight-kilometre extension will accommodate over 90,000 daily trips, connect more people to jobs, and bring faster transit to more communities across York Region and Toronto.

“The Yonge North Subway Extension remains the top transportation priority for York Regional Council and we are pleased to be working in partnership with the Province of Ontario to take additional steps to move this project forward,” said Wayne Emmerson, York Region chairman and CEO. “A project of this magnitude has far-reaching benefits for local jobs, the economy, environment and travellers.”

Ontario has committed $70.5 billion over the next decade to transform public transit in the province, which includes the largest subway expansion in Canadian history – the Ontario Line, the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, and the Yonge North Subway Extension.

In May 2020, Ontario signed a preliminary agreement with York Region that will help significantly expand the subway network through the delivery of the Yonge North Subway Extension.

“The Yonge North Subway Extension continues to advance with the strong support of the provincial and federal governments,” said Markham Mayor – Frank Scarpitti. “York Region’s top transportation priority and the most justified rapid transit project in the GTA needs to be delivered as soon as possible.

“I am extremely pleased with today’s much anticipated announcement, it’s a critical step towards getting shovels in the ground.”

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