Ontario breaks ground on Scarborough subway extension
Published Wednesday, June 23, 2021 7:39AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 23, 2021 3:09PM EDT
Construction has finally begun on a long-debated extension of the Line 2 subway into Scarborough but it could still be another nine years before service actually begins along the 7.8 kilometre route.
Premier Doug Ford, Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Mayor John Tory were among a host of dignitaries on hand for a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the formal beginning of construction on the $5.5 billion project on Wednesday.
The ceremony comes three months after the construction company Strabag was handed a $757 million contract to design and tunnel the three-stop extension.
“I know that the people of Scarborough have been waiting for this day for a long, long time. They are long accustomed, I guess in a way we've all become long accustomed to under investment in Scarborough transit and a number of other areas in Scarborough. Well those days are over,” Tory said during the ceremony. “Those days are visibly and tangibly coming to an end with what we're here to do today.”
The actual boring of the tunnel for the subway extension isn’t expected to begin until next spring but crews are now actively preparing the site for the day when that work can get underway.
The milestone of sorts comes more than 10 years after the project was initially proposed, first a three-stop extension of Line 2 to Scarborough Town Centre, then as an abridged one-stop subway extension.
The expanded version of the project that is now going forward, which is part of a $30 million Ford government plan to build four new rapid transit lines in the Greater Toronto Area, will travel from Kennedy Station to Sheppard Avenue.
It will have stations at Lawrence Avenue and McCowan Road, Scarborough Centre and McCowan Road and Sheppard Avenue.
The project isn’t scheduled to be completed until 2030, meaning that east Toronto residents could be without rapid transit for upwards of seven years following the decommissioning of the Scarborough RT in 2023.
Ford, however, defended the timeline during Wednesday’s ceremony, rejecting a suggestion that a previously planned light rail transit line would have been in place by now had it not ben cancelled under the mayoral tenure of his late brother Rob Ford.
“The only person that should be apologizing is the Liberal government that ignored us for years and the council was 45 councillors, nothing could get done,” he said. “So maybe the ones that aren't down at city council (anymore) should be apologizing for all those years that they railroaded, and sorry for the pun, that they railroaded the Scarborough subway.”