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Eglinton Crosstown LRT Tunnelling Officially Gets Underway

The slow process of digging out underground tunnels for Toronto's future light-rail vehicles got its start earlier this morning.

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It’s somehow reassuring to know that despite pervasive confusion at City Hall, Toronto is still somehow managing to press ahead with a major infrastructure project—or at any rate, the province is managing to do it on Toronto’s behalf. (Which isn’t to say Toronto doesn’t have a couple of its own things on the go.)

Earlier today, Minister of Transportation Glen Murray, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, and MP Laura Albanese called members of the media to an excavated shaft near Eglinton Avenue and Black Creek Drive. There, they officially launched the first of four tunnel-boring machines that will dig the 10-plus kilometre underground segment of the Eglinton Crosstown light rail line, which is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

The Metrolinx-led project is one of four new light-rail lines scheduled for completion over the next seven years. The first two boring machines, which are nicknamed Dennis and Lea, will dig the western section of the tunnel, from Black Creek Drive. Another two machines, Don and Humber, will dig the eastern portion, from Leslie Street to Yonge Street. It’s expected that each machine will make 10 or 15 metres of progress per day.

Click through the image gallery, above, for a look at what happened at this morning’s launch ceremony.

Or, you can watch a video that describes how the boring machines work.

CORRECTION: June 5, 2013, 11:22 AM This post originally said that the Black Creek Drive segment of the Eglinton Crosstown is to the east, and that the Leslie portion is to the west. In fact, it’s the reverse.

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