But Metrolinx's video, which explains the mess using computer animation, is pretty cool.
The Eglinton Crosstown LRT, scheduled for completion in 2020, is going to run underground, like a subway line, between Keele Street and Laird Drive—but that doesn’t mean drivers and transit riders are getting off consequence free. Metrolinx has released information on expected road closures during tunnelling and station construction, and it’s looking like the next few years are going to be interesting ones for anyone who needs to travel on Eglinton Avenue.
In an overview of expected traffic disruptions [PDF] presented at an open house last month, Metrolinx says that active construction zones will generally have just one lane of traffic flowing in each direction, all day. In places where on-street parking is available, some of those spaces will be removed, forcing drivers to leave their vehicles on side streets. Even during tunnelling, this will be an issue, because some surface work needs to be done. Metrolinx will need to relocate utilities, and also pour concrete walls to act as bulkheads for future stations.
Metrolinx anticipates a number of temporary road closures at intersections along Eglinton Avenue, the most significant being suspension of northbound access to Allen Road from Eglinton Avenue. That’s expected to last for a year, starting in 2014.
Currently, there is no estimate of exactly how long tunnelling will take, though it’s safe to say that it will be at least a couple of years. A Metrolinx spokesperson said the agency expects to have a better idea of the timetable once they award a tunnelling contract, which they expect to do in September. After the tunnels are finished, there will still be years of additional traffic disruptions while crews build the Crosstown’s underground stations.
There is a silver lining: while we wait for the project to finish, there’s a very strong likelihood that we’ll be treated to more awesome explanatory YouTube videos, like the one embedded at the top of this post, which explains exactly how the tunnelling will work and why it will cause street-level delays. It was released by Metrolinx a couple of weeks ago.
This post originally said that Metrolinx anticipates suspending “northbound access to Eglinton Avenue from Allen Road.” In fact, the plan is to do the reverse: cut off northbound access to Allen Road from Eglinton Avenue. (Allen Road doesn’t run south of Eglinton.)