City has paused planning work on relief line that can't also be used for Ontario Line

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Published June 19, 2019 11:05 a.m. ET
A map of the proposed Ontario Line in Toronto is pictured in this handout image from the 2019 Ontario budget.

The city has halted most of the planning and design work on the relief subway line in the wake of the province unveiling a substantially different vision for the project, staff told members of city council on Tuesday.

In January, Mayor John Tory announced $325 million in funding over two years to accelerate work on the relief subway line but with Premier Doug Ford’s government now pursuing a parallel vision for the line as part of a $28.5 billion plan to build transit in Toronto, much of that work has been put on hold.

Speaking with members of council during a meeting on Tuesday, the TTC’s acting chief transit expansion officer Gary Downie revealed that all work on the relief line that can’t also be used for the Ford government’s Ontario Line proposal has been suspended.

“We have actually scaled back what we are doing to ensure we are not wasting money at this point in time,” Downie said. “The design work we are actually carrying out now is work that won’t be wasted going forward, so information that can be used on both the relief line and the Ontario Line.”

City council has not endorsed the Ontario Line and the relief subway is technically still part of its plans.

That line would begin at Osgoode Station and travel along Queen Street and Eastern Avenue before turning north at Carlaw Avenue and connecting with Line 2 at Danforth Avenue.

Ford’s proposed Ontario Line, meanwhile, would run from Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre.

On Tuesday, Downie said that the planning and design work on the relief subway line had reached about 15 per cent completion and was scheduled to reach a critical point, in which financial estimates become more reliable, by early 2020.

Planning and design work on the Ontario Line is believed to be at less than two per cent completion, Downie said.

He said that right now staff are continuing with a study of soil conditions in some areas where both the relief line and Ontario Line would pass but have put other work on hold.

TTC CEO Rick Leary also confirmed on Tuesday that the city will be seeking compensation from the province for the millions of dollars in planning and design work on the relief subway line that may no longer be of use.

The city has previously pegged the value of that work at $15.4 million.

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