Metrolinx says it will not be able to meet a previously-set soft target of September for substantially completing the new Eglinton Crosstown light rail line and no new target date has been set.
The provincial agency responsible for regional transit in the GTA said Friday that while it had hoped for work to be substantially complete on the line by September, it will not be done this fall.
“We had expected the Eglinton Crosstown LRT to be fully built, thoroughly tested, and in service this fall in accordance with our project agreement with Crosslinx Transit Solutions, the construction consortium responsible for building the project,” Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster said in a statement Friday.
“Unfortunately, while progress has been made, Crosslinx Transit Solutions have fallen behind schedule, are unable to finalize construction and testing, and therefore the system will not be operational on this timeline.”
Verster’s statement acknowledged that construction “has been difficult” for many parties, including businesses, commuters and those living along the line.
He said Metrolinx is “doing everything to hold Crosslinx Transit Solutions accountable and to redouble efforts to meet their commitments.”
The transit agency has been butting heads over the past few years with the consortium hired to build the line.
Crosslinx filed a lawsuit against Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario in October 2020, saying that they should not be held accountable for delays in cost overruns on the project because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A judge eventually sided with the consortium and the two sides renegotiated an agreement in December that the line would be substantially complete by September 2022 and open several months later.
Crosslinx could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
Construction on the line started more than a decade ago in the summer of 2011. At inception, the $5.5 billion line was expected to be complete by 2020.
Verster said he hopes for the line to be complete “as soon as possible” but offered no new target date.
Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the new delay.
Toronto-St. Paul MPP Jill Andrew said that the Ford government and Crosslinx do not only owe the residents and businesses an apology for the delays but compensation for their financial loss during construction.
"This latest delay is piling on the devastation for businesses in the Toronto—St. Paul's riding, especially in Little Jamaica. Little Jamaica and the Black-owned businesses along this road deserve better than constant and costly delays and disruptions. Our community wants accountability and deserves a public report on the impact that this construction has had on our region, especially for those hardest-hit," Andrew said in a statement.
"The vibrant community of Little Jamaica and its Black-owned business and residents deserve better. They deserve a community that's walkable and open — not a never-ending construction site."
Meanwhile, Toronto Mayor John Tory also voiced his frustration with the news, saying he will reach out to Metrolinx to let them know that Crosstown needs to open as soon as possible.
"While this massive project when it does open will be a huge step forward for transit in Toronto and while I do take heart from the evident progress on stations and from seeing vehicles actually being tested, the more than a decade of construction has been absolutely brutal for residents, businesses, and commuters along Eglinton Avenue right across our city," Tory said in a statement.