Canadian Consulting Engineer

Station design for Toronto subway extension is “post apocalyptic”

The first of four tunnel boring machines that will dig an extension to the Toronto Transit Commission's Spadina Subway line into York Region northwest of the city has arrived - in pieces.

March 28, 2011   Canadian Consulting Engineer

The first of four tunnel boring machines that will dig an extension to the Toronto Transit Commission’s Spadina Subway line into York Region northwest of the city has arrived – in pieces.

The 8.5 kilometre Toronto-York Spadina subway extension goes from Downsview station up through York University and will end at a new development known as the Vaughan Corporate Centre near Highway 7 and Jane Street (around the meeting of Highways 400 and 407).

Hatch Mott MacDonald are the designer for the tunnel which is scheduled to be completed by late 2015. The entire project is budgeted to cost $2.6 billion.

The first TBM was delivered in early spring. It took 21 truckloads for launching at the site of the new Sheppard West Station — one of six new stations to be built on the line. The station has been designed by AECOM with the lead architectural firm of Aedas.

The second TBM, which will drill in the opposite direction (south) is to be launched at the Steeles West Station. The unusual design for the entrance pavilion to this station has aroused interest in the local media. Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star described it as a structure of “enormous character” that looks “strangely postapocalyptic.” It has legs supporting a rusting Corten steel body, with a crown of large letters spelling the station name. It was designed by Wil Alsop, the same U.K. star architect who designed the eccentric Ontario College of Art & Design addition in the downtown area, together with the Spadina Group Associates. The Spadina Group Associates, which is a joint venture of Stevens Group Architects, LEA Consulting and Halsall Associates, is also designing the Finch West Station.

As Hume noted, although the artist for the station has pictured it amid trees and lush vegetation, this station and many of the others lie in sprawling, largely open lands on the outskirts of the city. The Steeles West station is expected to handle only 3,800 riders in the morning rush hour even by 2031, although it will have 1,900 parking spaces.

Critics are questioning the wisdom of building expensive subways to city outskirts where there is not great demand, and would like to see light-rapid transit lines built to the outer communities instead.

The station at York University — Canada’s third largest university — is being designed by Arup Canada in association with Fosters & Partners. It will be aligned with Vari Hall on the campus’s main axis.  Arup is also designing the Vaughan Corporate Centre Terminal station, while Aecom is designing the Highway 407 Station.

Golder Associates and Inspec-Sol were contracted to do the geotechnical, sub-surface engineering.


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