Community

Government takes ‘critical step’ on subway extension

The Yonge North Subway Extension is one step closer to making travel between York Region and the City of Toronto faster and easier after the provincial government issued a Request for Qualifications for the Advance Tunnel Contract.

“The Yonge North Subway Extension is a critical project for York Region that will provide much-needed access to reliable public transit and connect more people to major employment centres in Markham, Vaughan and Richmond Hill,” Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney said at the April 28 announcement.

The contract includes designing the tunnels and building the launch and extraction shafts that will be used for the tunnel boring machines. It also includes the design and construction of headwalls for stations and emergency exit buildings. Tunnelling will begin first, followed by a separate contract to build the stations, rail and systems.

“York Region’s top transportation priority and the most justified rapid transit project in the Greater Toronto Area needs to be delivered as soon as possible,” Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said. “I am extremely pleased with today’s much anticipated announcement, it’s a critical step towards getting shovels in the ground.”

Early work on the Yonge North Subway Extension is currently underway at Finch Station, where workers are making upgrades to accommodate the future subway service. Once complete, the approximately eight-kilometre extension will accommodate more than 90,000 daily trips.

“A project of this magnitude has far-reaching benefits for local jobs, the economy, environment and travellers,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. It’s expected to create thousands of jobs during construction and generate more than $3.6 billion worth of total economic benefits to help stimulate the economy.

The extension will put 26,000 more people within a 10-minute walk of transit and is expected to reduce daily travel times for commuters by up to 22 minutes and will reduce the distance travelled by personal vehicles by 7,700 kilometres during rush hour and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 4,800 tonnes each year, the provincial government reports.

Ontario is investing $70.5 billion over the next decade to transform public transit in the province. In addition to the Yonge North Subway Extension, that includes the Ontario Line, the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.

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