Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins says the provincial transit agency is “confident” it can avoid shutting down the Scarborough RT during the construction of the new Lawrence East GO Station.
In December, Toronto city council voted in favour of proposed station concepts for six new city-funded GO stations, including the Lawrence East GO Station, which would replace the existing Lawrence East SRT Station.
On Tuesday, The Toronto Star, citing internal documents, published a story suggesting that officials initially thought the SRT would need to be shut down for at least a year to accommodate the construction of the station, which Metrolinx is responsible for building.
Aikins said engineers have now determined a solution to avoid shutting down the SRT while construction is underway.
“In the initial planning stages, there was some concerns that you perhaps would have to shut down while you build a station on top of another station. So we identified that as an issue and then we worked around it,” she said.
“We are building a design that won’t require shutting it down.”
The new solution, Aikins said, includes shifting the tracks so they are not overtop of the existing SRT tracks, reducing the size of the station slightly, and staging construction work on weekends.
Aikins said she does not know what impact the design changes will have on the cost of the project but said an updated budget is expected shortly.
She conceded that it is possible the project’s price tag will rise.
The six new GO stations are part of Mayor John Tory’s scaled back “SmartTrack” plan.
The stations, according to the SmartTrack website, are expected to be built by 2024.
It should be noted that the Lawrence East GO Station is one of two stations currently under review by Metrolinx after an internal report suggested that they should not be built.
The Scarborough subway extension, which is now estimated to cost $3.35 billion, will eventually replace the SRT but is not expected to be operational until 2025-2026.
The city has promised that the subway construction will not interfere with operation of the SRT.