Shortlists for two Ontario Line metro contracts 21 Jan 2021

Jonathan Rowland, TunnelTalk

Six teams have been shortlisted for contracts expected to be awarded in the second half of 2022 for the new Ontario Line subway project in Toronto, Canada. The requests for proposals issued by provincial infrastructure agency Infrastructure Ontario, and public transport operator Metrolinx, cover two of the three main packages on the 15.6km Ontario Line:

  • civil works and construction of the southern section of the line from Exhibition Station to the Don Yard portal, including 6km of tunnel and six underground stations (Table 1) and
  • provision of the rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance (RSSOM) package (Table 2).
Table 1. Shortlist for the Ontario Line south package
Community Transit Link
Applicant Lead Aecon Infrastructure Management, Dragados Canada, Strabag
Design Team Arup Canada, Hatch
Construction Team Aecon Infrastructure Management, Dragados Canada, Strabag
Financial Advisor ACS Infrastructure Canada, Aecon Concessions, National Bank Financial
Applicant Lead Webuild, Astaldi Canada Enterprises, Amico Infrastructures, Saipem
Design Team IBI Group Professional Services Canada, Arcadis Canada
Construction Team Webuild, Astaldi Canada Design & Construction, Amico Infrastructures, Saipem
Ontario Transit Group
Applicant Lead Ferrovial Construction Canada, Vinci Construction Grands Projets
Design Team AECOM Canada, COWI North America, GHD, SENER Group
Construction Team Ferrovial Construction Canada, Janin Atlas
Financial Advisor HSBC
Table 2. Shortlist for the Ontario Line RSSOM package
Connext 6ix
Applicant Lead Plenary Americas, Hitachi Rail STS, Japan Infrastructure Initiative, Webuild, Transdev Canada
Design Team Hitachi Rail Canada, Webuild/Astaldi Canada Design & Construction, IBI Group Professional Services (Canada)
Construction Team Hitachi Rail Canada, Webuild/Astaldi Canada
Maintenance and rehabilitation team Hitachi Rail Canada, Transdev Canada
Operations team Hitachi Rail Canada, Transdev Canada
Financial advisor National Bank Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Applicant Lead Aecon Concessions, Siemens Project Ventures, Keolis
Design Team Siemens Mobility, Hatch
Construction Team Aecon Infrastructure Management, Siemens Mobility
Maintenance and rehabilitation team Siemens Mobility, Aecon O&M, Keolis Canada
Operations team Aecon O&M, Keolis Canada
Financial advisor Scotia Capital
Applicant Lead John Laing, Alstom Transport Canada
Design Team Alstom Transport Canada, Parsons
Construction Team Alstom Transport Canada, FCC Construction Canada, Amico Infrastructures, Pomerleau, Mass Electric Canada
Maintenance and rehabilitation team Alstom Transport Canada, Deutsche Bahn International Operations, SMRT International
Operations team Alstom Transport Canada, Deutsche Bahn International Operations, SMRT International
Financial advisor HSBC Securities (Canada)

The south package will be awarded on a design-build-finance basis and the RSSOM package on a design-build-finance-operate-maintain basis.

A third package of work covering construction of the northern section of the line is expected to be tendered in 2022. All three main work packages are being delivered as P3 public-private partnership contracts. Separate early works contracts will be procured as necessary through traditional procurement processes.

Fig 1. Modified southern alignment of the Ontario Line
Fig 1. Modified southern alignment of the Ontario Line

Alongside the request for proposals, the preliminary design business case (PDBC) for the project has been released, including optimised alignment and a refined operating concept. This updates the analysis of costs and benefits presented in the 2019 initial business case (IBC). In the PDBC, the expected total costs have been reduced to CAD$9.6-$10.26 billion from the $10.4-$12 billion in the IBC.

Preliminary funding of $10.9 billion project was announced by the Ontario Provincial Government in 2019 with a more detailed funding and financing approach currently being developed to include all levels of government. The project has also been nominated for Federal Government funding, which is hoped will cover at least 40% of the capital costs.

According to the PDBC, the south package tunnelling work will centre on a new underground station at Corktown, which is envisaged to be the launch site for the TBM to bore north and then west through new underground stations at Moss Park, Queen, Osgoode, Queen/Spadina and King/Bathurst, before surfacing near Strachan Avenue. The line will then continue at-grade to the Ontario Line terminus at Exhibition Station.

The new stations are expected to be constructed using SEM techniques, with the exception of Corktown, which has been modified in the PDBC to be an open-cut construction. The underground alignment has also been slightly shortened in the latest business case to follow a more direct route from Queen/Spadina Station to the Strachan Avenue portal (Fig 1), a change that has helped to reduce construction costs and the impact of excavations on existing utilities. Excavations south from Corktown to the eastern portal at Don Yard complete the south package works and are likely to be constructed using a combination of SEM and open-cut techniques.

Fig 2. 15.6km mixed elevation route of the Ontario Line
Fig 2. 15.6km mixed elevation route of the Ontario Line

The underground element of the north package of work is about half that in the south package, at 2.8km, running between portals just north of Gerrard Station and at Minton Place. This section also includes two underground stations at Pape and Cosburn.

In addition to the 8.8km of underground alignment, 3.7km will be at-grade or utilise joint rail corridor track, and 3.1km will be on elevated guideways (Fig 2).

Alongside the new Ontario Line, three other metro lines are under development in Toronto. Tunnelling contracts for the 7.8km Scarborough Subway extension and 9.2km Eglinton Crosstown West extension are currently in procurement with shortlisted teams announced in August 2020 and invited submit proposals. Contracts are expected to awarded in mid-2021. The stations, rail and systems contract for the Scarborough Subway extension is expected to begin procurement in Spring 2021, Infrastructure Ontario told TunnelTalk in an emailed statement, with the Eglinton Crosstown West station, rail and systems contract procurement to follow at a date to be confirmed.

The fourth project is the 7.4km Yonge North Subway extension with publication of an updated business case originally expected in 2020 but still pending with release expected in the near future, Infrastructure Ontario said. Procurement is anticipated to begin in the second half of 2021. Infrastructure Ontario have been "pleased with the market interest and participation in the projects so far." The organisation has however seen a desire within the market to take on less risk, a trend that may be more pronounced after the Covid-19 pandemic. "We have therefore structured the projects to be delivered via smaller, but still significant, packages, rather than as single large projects."


Requests for qualification issued for Ontario Line 11 Jun 2020

Jonathan Rowland, TunnelTalk

Two of the three requests for qualifications for the Ontario Line metro project in Toronto have been issued by Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx. A first request covers civil works and construction for tunnelling and stations on the southern portion of the 15.5km Line, while a second covers rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance for the entire line.

The third qualification request covers civil work and construction of the northern section and is expected to be issued in 2022. All three contracts are to be delivered as P3 public-private partnerships.

Fig 1. Request for qualification covers southern section of Ontario Line
Fig 1. Request for qualification covers southern section of Ontario Line

The southern section request for qualification is for a design-build-finance contract that includes excavation of a 6-7km tunnel between Exhibition Station and Don Yard, procurement of the TBMs required, and construction of seven stations, six underground and one on the surface (Fig 1).

Configuration of the underground guideways for the Ontario Line is yet to be determined with Infrastructure Ontario telling TunnelTalk that it is considering providing flexibility in determining configuration to enable maximum innovation. Although twin-bore configurations are standard in Toronto, including for the 9.2km Eglinton Crosstown West extension, the new 7.8km Scarborough Subway will comprise one 10.7m i.d. single double track bore.

Additional elements of the southern section of the Ontario Line contract include utility works; ground works; drainage, including any pumping stations and outfall connections; conduits as required for M&E and transit systems; and guideway construction.

Stations will be constructed at:

  • Corktown,
  • Moss Pack,
  • Queen to integrate with existing TTC subway station,
  • Osgoode to integrate with existing TTC subway station,
  • Queen/Spadina,
  • King/Bathurst and
  • Exhibition/Ontario Place above ground and integrating with existing GO Transit Exhibition Station

Following the request for qualifications, a shortlist of companies will be invited to respond to a request for proposals expected to be released in Autumn 2020.

Fig 2. Four new metro lines planned for the Greater Toronto area
Fig 2. Four new metro lines planned for the Greater Toronto area

To complete the Ontario Line, the northern contract from Don Yard to Ontario Science Station will include further underground elements, including a 3km tunnel and two underground stations at Pape and Cosburn. In addition, a series of early works projects for bridge, track and other preparatory activities will be issued later this year (2020).

Early works will occur along the section of Ontario Line that will operate alongside existing GO Transit rail services. These early works will be procured under traditional contractual arrangements. At Don Yard, the southern contract tunnel works will integrate with these early works.

In January 2020, a consortium of HDR, Mott Macdonald, Stantec and Systra was announced as project engineers for the Ontario Line, with Comtech appointed as technical advisor.

Scheduled for delivery in 2027, the CAN$10.9 billion Ontario Line is one of four transit links announced by the Provincial Government of Ontario in 2019 for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area. Requests for qualifications for tunnelling work on the Scarborough Subway and Eglinton Crosstown West extensions closed at the end of May. Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx are in the process of reviewing the submissions and are on schedule to move forward with the request for proposals later in the Summer. A shortlist of bidders will be released closer to the time.

The fourth project is the Yonge Subway extension, which is due for completion in 2029-2030 and has a request for qualifications targeted for Autumn 2021.


Toronto invites qualification for new metro projects 02 Apr 2020

Jonathan Rowland, TunnelTalk

Requests for qualification have been issued for two of the four priority Toronto Metro extension projects that were announced in April 2019 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford (Fig 1 and Table 1). The four projects will result in a combined CAN$28.5 billion investment in transport infrastructure for the city, of which the Provincial Government is providing $11.2 billion.

Fig 1. Four metro priorities in Toronto
Fig 1. Four metro priorities in Toronto
Table 1. Details of the four metro line priorities in Toronto
Line Cost (CAN$) Length Completion Date
Ontario Line $10.9 billion 16km, 9km
Yonge Subway
$5.6 billion 7.4km, majority
Subway extension
$5.5 billion 7.8km, all
Eglinton Crosstown
West extension
$4.7 billion 9.2km, 6km

The first two qualification requests, issued by Infrastructure Ontario and regional transport agency Metrolinx, cover tunnelling work on the Scarborough Subway and the Eglinton Crosstown West extensions. The tunnelling contracts for both projects will include the supply of the TBMs. This is a change to the approach on the previous metro projects including the Eglinton Crosstown and earlier Spadina and Sheppard Line subway contracts for which the TBMs and the segments for the segmental linings were procured by the owner and provided to the engaged contractors. Four Lovat EPBMs were used on the Spadina Line extension and another four EPBMs were procured from the Caterpillar Tunneling Division, previously Lovat, and now Lovsuns and part of Liaoning Censcience Industry of China, for the current Eglinton Crosstown Line on which tunnelling was completed in 2016. Calls are with Metrolinx to know the reasons for the change of policy.

Scarborough Subway extension

The Scarborough Subway project is a 7.8km fully-underground extension to the Line 2 Bloor-Danforth route and will run northeast from the existing terminal at Kennedy Station through newly constructed stations at Lawrence Avenue/McCowan Road and Scarborough Centre to terminate at a third new station at Sheppard Avenue/McCowan Road (Fig 2). At an estimated cost of $5.5 billion, the target delivery date is 2029-2030.

Fig 2. 7.8km Scarborough Subway extension route
Fig 2. 7.8km Scarborough Subway extension route

The request for qualification is to bid for a contract for the 7.8km of segmentally lined TBM excavation work, including utility relocations, design and construction of launch and reception shafts, supply of the TBMs, and installation of the precast concrete segments.

The stations, rail and systems contract for the Scarborough Subway extension, including commissioning of the new infrastructure, will be awarded separately. The tunnelling contract is to be awarded on a design-build-finance model, while the stations and systems contract will be on a design-built-finance-and-maintain basis.

Eglinton Crosstown LRT

The second request for qualification covers the 6km of twin tunnelling on the 9.2km $4.7 billion extension to the Eglinton Crosstown West light rail system and covers a similar range of activities as the Scarborough tunnelling contract. The extension will run from the western end of the current Eglinton Crosstown route at Mount Dennis, along Eglinton Avenue West before heading north towards Toronto Pearson International Airport and terminating at Renforth Drive (Fig 3). The underground section runs between Scarlett Road and Renforth Drive and will be delivered on a design-build-finance model. Delivery is expected before 2031.

Fig 3. 9.2km Eglinton Crosstown West extension route
Fig 3. 9.2km Eglinton Crosstown West extension route

Construction of the seven to ten new stations and other facilities on the Eglinton Crosstown West extension, including fit-out of the tunnels and installation and commissioning of the systems, will be covered by a separate contract to be awarded at a later date. A possible further 4.7km extension, with three additional stations to take the route on to the airport is also under consideration and would bring the total length of the new works to 13.9km.

Meanwhile, work on the original 19km Eglinton Crosstown route will continue “well into 2022”, Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said in February 2020. Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), the joint venture of ACS-Dragados, Aecon, EllisDon and SNC Lavalin responsible for design and construction of the project “has faced a number of challenges since the start of the project, including starting nine months later than planned, and were slow to finalise the designs with some work packages,” Verster said. In addition, defective concrete was also discovered under the station box at Eglinton-Yonge Station, adding to the delay.

“Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario are not making any precise predictions of the project completion date because CTS must prove to us that they can achieve the new production rates they say they can achieve,” concluded Verster. “It is important to note that the project remains within budget.”

Ontario Line and Yonge Subway extension

The 16km Ontario Line will run from the Ontario Science Centre in the northeast of the city to Ontario Place in the south west and includes two tunnelled sections. It is scheduled for delivery by 2027. The initial business case for the line was released in July 2019 and work is continuing to refine the design and engineering scope, and to gain environmental approvals. HDR and partners Mott MacDonald, Stantec, Systra are project engineers and Comtech was announced as technical advisors to the project in January 2020.

Fig 4. 16km Ontario Line route
Fig 4. 16km Ontario Line route

“The Ontario Line will not only provide relief for the existing subway system but will also create connections with the existing and planned transit network,” said HDR Senior Vice President Tyrone Gan, principal-in-charge on the project.

Scheduled for completion shortly after the Ontario Line in 2029-2030, the proposed 7.4km Yonge Subway extension will feature six stops, running from the existing Finch Station into Richmond Hill. An updated business case is currently being prepared and will be presented to the Metrolinx Board in 2020.

A priority package of transportation infrastructure projects

A request for proposal has previously been issued for the progamme controls services consultant to provide management and administrative support for the subway programme. Technical advisors for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, Scarborough Subway extension and Yonge North Subway extension are also being sought with contracts expected to be awarded in Spring 2020. Legal services are being provided by MCarthy Tetrault, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, and Blakes, Cassels & Graydon.

"Our government is investing in transportation to bring relief and new opportunities to transit users and commuters," said Premier Ford when the deal was announced. "The new Ontario Line will deal with the congestion on Line 1; the Yonge North Subway Extension will connect the subway to one of the largest employment centres in the region; the three-station Scarborough Subway extension will better serve communities; and the Eglinton Crosstown West extension, a large portion of which will be underground, will relieve traffic congestion on our roadways. This is our plan, our priority."


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