Crews preparing for excavation on Scarborough Subway Extension 

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Construction at the northeast corner of Sheppard Avenue East and McCowan Road is in full ‘drill mode’ as crews work on bringing subway service almost eight kilometres further into Scarborough. Here’s where those crews are at, and where they’re going.

The extension, which broke ground in June, will provide seamless, reliable transit to key areas in Scarborough and service approximately 105,000 riders each day.

“We’ve completed drilling over 200 secant piles so far as part of our preparations to begin excavation,” said Uhland Konrad, Design and Build director for Strabag, the contractor in charge of tunnelling underground for the project.

water spray

Those secant piles are reinforced concrete columns used to create a water-tight barrier around the perimeter of the area that will be excavated for the launch shaft. 

Strabag, a global leader in tunnelling technologies have built complex transportation infrastructure in more than 60 countries. The company was selected through procurement to construct the tunnel for the Scarborough Subway which includes construction of a launch shaft that is approximately 80 metres long, 30 metres wide and 25 metres deep.

“We are staying aware of not only what is happening within the construction site, but also around the area,” Konrad said.

“We understand how important it is for the public to have access to transit in this part of the city and we are working hard to complete the project as quickly and safely as possible.”

Metrolinx and Strabag have implemented measures to reduce impacts of noise and vibration from construction at the launch shaft site.


“Noise and vibration monitoring equipment have been installed on site and in different locations in the area to keep a close eye and ear on construction activities,” Konrad said. “We’ve also installed a movable noise wall that is used to reduce sound from construction activities on site, especially when work is being done in the evenings or on weekends.”

To reduce dust on the site, water trucks are used to spray the area several times each day. 

Once the excavation is completed and the tunnel launch shaft is prepared, the tunnel boring machine will arrive and be lowered into the launch shaft to begin working its way south underneath McCowan Road.


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