Politicians celebrate a major transit milestone:
contractors finish first tunnels in new subway project



The Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Vaughan; His Worship Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto, York Region Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Fisch and Toronto Transit Commission Chair Karen Stintz, yesterday marked an important transit construction milestone yesterday, Monday, June 11. Contractors working on the project to extend the 1 Yonge - University - Spadina subway beyond Downsview Station to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre have finished boring the first 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) of twin tunnels for the future subway line.

The new tunnels will connect the future Sheppard West and Finch West Stations. Two tunnel-boring machines or TBMs, “Holey” and “Moley”, dug out the tunnels.

“Holey” broke through the headwall of a shaft in the middle of Keele Street, just south of Finch Avenue West, Tuesday, May 1. (The contractors use this “extraction shaft” to remove the TBMS from the work site.) “Moley” broke through Monday, June 4, completing the second tunnel for this section. The contractors are now dismantling both TBMs and will move them to a second launch site. They’ll then bore southward from Sheppard West to Downsview Station.

“Holey,” “Moley,” “Yorkie” and “Torkie” are the official names of the machines that are boring the tunnels for the project. (The names resulted from a public contest to name the machines.) The machines will bore a total of 13.4 kilometres 8.3 miles) of single tunnels or 6.7 kilometres (4 miles) of twin tunnels.

The TTC, which is managing the construction project, expects to finish work by the end of 2015.

The Government of Canada is supplying as much as $697 million to extend the subway, while the Province of Ontario has provided $870 million. The City of Toronto is contributing $526 million to the project, while the Regional Municipality of York is supporting the project with $352 million.

“Torkie” and “Yorkie”, which continue to dig out the tunnels linking the future Steeles West and York University Stations, are currently working under Ottawa Road on York’s Keele Campus.