Canadian Consulting Engineer

Toronto’s power grid gets a boost with new mid-town transmission line

September 17, 2012
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Tunnelling work for a major power transmission corridor across Toronto began this month in order to strengthen the city's electricity grid.

Tunnelling work for a major power transmission corridor across Toronto began this month in order to strengthen the city’s electricity grid.

MMM Group has done the civil design for the 2.4 kilometre tunnel, which will carry six high voltage cables carrying an additional 100 MW of power to neighbourhoods in the city. The tunnel will run 60 metres below ground from Bayview Avenue to Yonge Street.

The power line services a wide swath of neighbourhoods in the city, from Queen Street in the south, to St. Clair Avenue in the north, and from Jane Street in the west to Mount Pleasant to the east.

The line replaces an existing one which is nearing the end of its service life. Ed Jetten, the project engineer with MMM Group, explains that the new concrete tunnel, which is 3.9 metres in diameter, has to be much deeper because of environmental concerns and the fact that the line crosses deep ravines.

The $115-million project, known as the Hydro One’s Midtown Electricity Infrastructure Renewal Project, is partially funded by the Ontario Ministry of Energy. The province has a program to rebuild or replace approximately 80% of its electricity “generating fleet.”

Consulting Engineers of Ontario (CEO), which has been asking the government to pay attention to the province’s aging electrical infrastructure (as well as other infrastructure needs), applauded the start of the transmission project.

Barry Steinberg, chief executive officer of CEO, said in a press release: “We are pleased to see the Government prioritizing the need to replace aging electrical equipment and identifying how to increase capacity for our City that continues to grow in size and number. These are the types of decisions that don’t always get the attention they deserve because the infrastructure is invisible to the public. What people need to know is that the underground cable is approaching the end of its life and, if not maintained, cell phones, TVs, lights and other everyday essentials are at risk of not working the way we expect them to.”


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