Just when you thought the endless renovations to Toronto’s Union Station front end were nearing completion, new projects will extend the commuter construction nightmare.
This project, On-Site says, will prolong work at Union “well into the 2020s.”
Current construction on Union began in 2009 with an original completion date of 2015. Since then, the finish date has been pushed back three times, with the work on the front end of Union now slated to be done by the end of 2019.
Toronto Mayor John Tory is on record as being opposed to any further extension to the work being overseen by the city.The estimated cost of that work has risen to $823 million from $604 million.
This new work will focus on enlarging Union at its south end. The purpose is to increase passenger and train capacity.
Whoever wins the contract will be responsible for building new platforms covered by canopies, two new tracks and a new concourse level located underneath the platforms. Also included, among other things, is a stormwater management system.
The initial stage in the process to secure the contract will identify the consortiums who want to bid. Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario will then jointly short-list what they consider are the most qualified “teams” who will then prepare and submit formal bids.
Consortiums have until mid-December to present their credentials to the two crown-owned agencies.
Writing in his Toronto Star column earlier this year, Edward Keenan captured the sentiments of commuters regarding the seemingly eternal construction work: “In so many ways, Union Station crystallizes a lot of the frustrations of Toronto today.
“In that it has been under construction for as long as anyone can remember, and the prospect of finishing seems further off the longer it goes on. In that it is hell on commuters. In that the new restaurants there are nice enough, but somewhat more expensive than you’d like them to be. In that the price tag keeps going up while the experience of it keeps getting more crowded, chaotic, and depressing. And in that many of us can’t simply avoid feeling its growing pains and problems, because it is central to how we live and work.”
Union Station – can’t live or work without it.