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Strachan overpass design unveiled

Railpath extension identified, no decision on Liberty Village station

by Tim Foran

GO Transit is seeking feedback on its design for the Strachan Avenue overpass above the planned Union-to-Pearson Airport railway corridor.

GO is proposing to lower the tracks along the corridor - currently used by its Georgetown, Barrie and Milton lines - by about five metres (16.5 feet) from Sudbury Street to Bathurst and Front streets. It would then raise Strachan south of Douro Street/Wellington Avenue by a maximum three metres (10 feet) so the street crosses over the railway corridor.

Currently, Strachan meets the tracks at grade. However, the provincial transportation agency Metrolinx plans to start running 140 daily air-rail link (ARL) trains in 2015. To accommodate that service, GO is planning to spend $1 billion over the next half decade to add tracks and improve infrastructure along its Georgetown corridor, including eliminating all at-grade crossings.

GO said it has designed the Strachan overpass to have a “flatter road profile” after concerns were raised that a high arch combined with the existing overpass 150 metres south on Strachan above GO’s Lakeshore West corridor would create a roller coaster effect. Construction on the grade separation is scheduled to start next summer and be completed in fall 2014.

GO said the lowering of the rail corridor has been designed to accommodate two ongoing city projects. Toronto’s capital budget includes money for a pedestrian bridge to be built over the railway corridor from Stanley Park to Fort York, to be built in time for the latter location’s bicentennial in 2012. The transit body’s grading consultant has also identified where the Railpath, which currently terminates at Dundas Street but is designed to run as far as Strachan, can be accommodated along the line.

However, Metrolinx has not yet determined if it will include an ARL station in Liberty Village. GO has determined it can’t install stations for its regular 12-car trains in either Parkdale (Queen Street and Dufferin Avenue) or Liberty Village (King Street) due to technical challenges and the requirement for large-scale property acquisition. However, Metrolinx’s ARL trains, which are planned to only stop in Weston and at Bloor, will only be two-car trains.

“There is room to put a local stop for the airport (ARL),” said Lynn Clay, executive director of the Liberty Village BIA. She said there are 500 businesses in the area, for which an airport link would be useful.

The fare for the ARL has not yet been determined, said a Metrolinx spokesman. However, the original plan for the train service, when it was to be run by a private operator rather than Metrolinx, had estimated a $20 one-way fare.

To provide feedback on the Strachan overpass design, visit GO’s community office at 901 King Street West, Suite 102 or www.gotransit.com/gts/en/haveyoursay/strachan.aspx


GO construction

The addition of more tracks between Bathurst Street and Hwy. 427 on GO Transit’s Union Station to Georgetown corridor requires some major construction along the route, including:

Queen Street Bridge

  • GO is adding one new span to the bridge to accommodate two more tracks.

  • Construction is scheduled to start in November 2010 and last until April 2011.

  • During construction, there will be some partial and full road closures. GO says it will work to limit full closures to nights and weekends.

  • It anticipates there will be limited noise and vibration due to the construction.

Brock Street, Landsdowne Avenue, Bloor Street Bridges

  • GO is adding new spans to these bridges to accommodate more tracks.

  • Construction is scheduled to start in November 2010 and last until April 2011.

  • During construction, there will be some partial and full road closures. GO says it will work to limit full closures to nights and weekends.

  • It anticipates there will be limited noise and vibration due to the construction.

Bloor GO Station

  • Currently used by GO Georgetown trains, it will also be a stop on Metrolinx’s Union to Toronto Pearson Airport rail link.
  • GO is planning a mobility hub for the site and it plans to start design and community consultation for the project this summer.



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