Metrolinx is considering a path for the extension of the Yonge subway up to Richmond Hill that would lead him above ground

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Metrolinx proposes an alternate route for the subway extension to Richmond Hill, planned for a long time, which would borrow the line to the east of Yonge street and would fly above the ground on a part of the journey, learned about the Star.

The alignment alternative for the extension of the Yonge subway North is one of the three options included in a business case analysis of the project, which will be discussed during a closed session of the Metrolinx board of directors on Thursday, according to a source in the provincial government main knowing the plan. .

The extension of Yonge is in the pipeline for years and is politically charged. The elected officers of the York region consider as their main priority in terms of public transport, and it was one of the four projects that the prime minister, Doug Ford has included in the revised $ 28.5 billion plans rail provincial that it was announced in April 2019.

According to designs already published, extending approximately seven kilometres would be underground in the north from Finch station in Toronto to Richmond Hill Centre, with no less than six new stations.

The government source high-level, to which the Star has agreed to grant anonymity to discuss the plans not yet made public, said that two of the options in the new report from Metrolinx would keep the line underground. But, according to a third proposal, the extension virerait east of Yonge near Kirk Drive Thornhill, then heading up to the north above ground along the rail corridor to the CN through the region of York.

The option partially out of soil is proposed in part to reduce the cost of the project. The price to pay for the extension has been estimated at approximately $ 5.6 billion in the provinces and the city of Toronto. reports, but according to sources, municipal and provincial, before Queen’s Park does not upload the planning of the public transportation in the city last October, the unpublished estimates of the TTC have brought the cost of $ 9 billion.

The provincial source main said that in addition to reducing costs, the new proposed alignment would also have the advantage to serve the emerging communities to the east of Yonge and provide better connections to transit services existing in the region.

If the line is constructed underground, Metrolinx proposes to reduce costs by reducing the size of stations and providing design changes, such as the construction of the bus terminal of the station to Steeles at the level of the surface rather than below ground.

Metrolinx should make public the business case for the extension later this summer.

The possibility of constructing a portion of the extension Yonge above the soil is likely to attract the fire of the politicians of the region of York, that promise for years to their voters with an underground metro in the north of Toronto.

In an interview Tuesday, the councillor of Markham, Keith Irish, has stated that Metrolinx had not directly shared his plans with him, but that he was concerned by the rumours of potential changes. The extension would run through his room.

“I would like to see all of this under the ground, which is an subway traditional, what we expect. I mean, we have a prime minister who has long explained its position quite clearly: subways, subways, subways. We all know what he means when he says that, ” said Irish, referring to the slogan that the prime minister Ford helped make famous when his brother Rob as mayor of Toronto.

Irish has also said that it would not make sense to build the subway somewhere other than under Yonge. “The alignment is essential. The alignment should hug the Yonge street “, he said.

The provincial source of high-level stated that no final decision had been taken, and “there are advantages and disadvantages in each” of the report options from Metrolinx. The source said that the government of Ontario is committed to working with York region to “determine which option of alignment” “would be the better of the community”.

Up to now, the province and the region of York for most progressed at the pace of the extension and, last month, reaffirmed their commitment by signing an agreement to share costs of the project. The extension is, however, still not fully funded. The province calls on the federal government to contribute 40% of the costs, but has not yet received a firm commitment. Metrolinx has stated that the expected completion date for the extension is 2029 or 2030.

The proposed amendments to the extension of Yonge reflect the approach of Metrolinx, the Ontario Line, the provincial project of $ 11 billion, which replaced the plans for the TTC and the city of Toronto for a subway rescue.

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The help line would have been completely underground, but in July, Metrolinx has released new plans for the line of the province of Ontario, who led the project above the ground to cross the railway corridors, the existing GO Transit. The agency said that the construction of the pathways above the ground to side of the lines GO would be more cost-effective and would extend the line further north and to the west of the line of relief would have been in its initial phase.

The Star reported in August that Metrolinx had formed a committee to examine the designs of extensions to the metro, Scarborough and Yonge North, in particular by examining alignments and alternative routes to the surface.

Ben Spurr is a journalist based in Toronto who covers transportation. Contact by email to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr

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