There’s a lot of speculation about which of the six tunnels will be ready to open by the summer, and there’s also a lot to work out about what exactly the work will look like and what the cost will be.
We asked two tunnel experts for their predictions on which of these six tunnels could open the fastest and what their timeline would be for completion.
“We’re looking at two of the tunnels to be ready,” said John Pemberton, a tunnel expert with the Department of Transportation.
“And then we’re looking to see if there’s anything else we can do with the other one.”
“There are so many tunnels, it would be very hard to get them all in place in time.”
The Globe and Mail asked Pember, who has been researching the project for decades, which of those six tunnels is the most likely to open in time.
“The six most likely ones are the four at the north end of the city, at the intersection of the Red River and the Greenway,” he said.
“It’s really an urban design that would be a good fit for a large urban corridor.”
The four at Red River The first two tunnels are expected to be open by summer, said Pember.
The north-south tunnel is the biggest and would be the longest.
The tunnel would be about 300 metres long and could be connected to the north side of the new Toronto Transit Commission tunnel project by a bridge, he said, and would connect to the south end of Scarborough Connector.
The project would see a new subway line between the Red and the Bloor Sts.
subway station, as well as a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that would link it to the new GO Transit subway line.
The second tunnel would connect the existing GO Transit train station to the Red Line and the current GO Transit bus station.
Pember said the north- south tunnel is a “great place to start.”
“It has the best traffic flow,” he told the Globe and Magazine.
“There’s so many possibilities to connect these two,” he added.
“You have two bridges, which would be nice to have.”
He added that the northern tunnel would have a “pretty good view of the downtown core.”
“The south tunnel has more of a traditional urban design,” he explained.
“But it’s a big chunk of concrete.”
The project could also see the creation of a new bridge connecting the Red, Bloor and Yonge lines.
Penderton noted that the existing south tunnel would also have a bus connection, but he suggested the north tunnel would “have more of an urban feel.”
Pember told the newspaper that the city could expect the new north-red tunnel to open next summer.
The current east-west tunnel, which has been in development for years, is scheduled to open later in 2018, but is currently under construction, he added, which could see the opening date pushed back a few months.
Penders said the new west-southway tunnel could open by 2019.
Pemerton said that he believes the existing north-west and south-east tunnels will each open by July or August.
“In terms of the cost, we’re talking $1 billion or $2 billion,” he noted.
“That’s pretty good.”
The second two tunnels would connect with the new TTC bus line, which Pember suggested could open in 2019.
The new line will connect to GO Transit’s new subway lines, and the two tunnels could connect the two lines.
“I think it’ll be a lot quicker to do the new tunnel than the existing one,” he stressed.
“When you’re going to get this done, you want to have a good connection, so you don’t have to build a new tunnel.”
“They’ll open in July or July and it’ll probably take two or three years to get it all in there.”
Penderons prediction on the south tunnel was the most optimistic.
“If you look at what’s been happening with the current tunnels, they’re doing pretty well,” he predicted.
“They’re coming into their own, and they’re going very well.”
“We’ve had some good news for the south.
It’s getting there.”
The first of the two north-east and south tunnels would open by late 2019.
“By then, we’ll probably be seeing the first of all the new subway cars being built on the surface, which should be in July of 2019,” Pember noted.
Peredon added that while he didn’t expect the two new tunnels to open before July 2019, “I do believe it’ll happen by July 2019.”
Peredons prediction was not without some skepticism.
“This is all speculation and a lot has happened in the last few years,” he commented.
“One tunnel opened, but the other hasn’t opened.
They’re both in the works, but we haven’t gotten the first tunnel to get to a finish date yet.”
The south tunnel will likely open in 2021 or 2022.