Strabag and West End Connectors in pole position for $3.5bn Toronto rail projects

Austrian contractor Strabag and the Aecon-led West End Connectors consortium have been named "first negotiations proponents" to design, build and finance tunnels for two mass transit projects in Toronto by Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and transit operator Metrolinx.

The two schemes are the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension projects, which are expected to have a total combined value of about US$3.5bn.

Metrolinx and IO will now work with each team to finalise their request for proposals with the aim of reaching financial close in the spring and breaking ground some time next year.

IO commented on its website: "Of the shortlisted teams invited to submit bids, those chosen were the highest ranked after the proposals were evaluated. Criteria included design and construction methodology, approach to managing the project and the collaborative behaviours of key individuals of the proponent teams."

If all goes according to plan, Strabag will undertake the Scarborough Subway Extension project. This is a 7.8km extension of the Toronto Transit Commission’s Bloor-Danforth Line 2. As well as tunnelling, the scope includes the supply of a tunnel boring machine.

A first draft of the planned Scarborough extension (Metrolinx)

The Strabag team includes UK consulting engineer Arup and Toronto engineer Brian Isherwood & Associates.

West End Connectors would build the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, which will add 9.2km to Toronto’s Line 5 and connect Mount Dennis Station to Renforth Drive.

The team is made up of Canadian contractor Aecon (40%), Spain’s Dragados (40%) and Italy’s Ghella (20%).

Joshua Engel-Yan, programme sponsor for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, said in a Metrolinx blog: "Once it’s built, the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will not only provide the local community with access to rapid transit, but it will also close a key transit gap for the region, allowing people to travel easily from the east end of Toronto into Mississauga."

IO and Metrolinx plan to issue separate contracts for the remainder of the two projects, which will include the construction of stations, fitting out of the tunnels and installing and commissioning the systems to put trains into service.

Image: One extension will replace the Scarborough light rail system (Adam E Moreira/CC BY-SA 3.0)

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