Rumours of a year-long subway service shutdown in Scarborough have been greatly exaggerated, according to Metrolinx.
The provincial transit agency’s spokesperson, Anne Marie Aikins, responded this morning to a Toronto Star report that indicated the Scarborough RT would need to close well before the controversial Lawrence East GO station was up and running.
Citing an internal document from 2017, The Star reported that Metrolinx had told the city there was no way to build the new station while keeping the SRT alive.
@supriyadwivedi sorry dear… this whole Scarborough subway disaster is directly caused by the relatively young SCARBOROUGH RT. If it was originally built as a subway we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Subways cost more but last way longer. Proof. Yonge st. subway.
— ENVELOPES (@Drissdan) February 13, 2018
The new GO station, however, is expected to be up and running by 2024.
This means that, if both projects are approved for construction, Toronto would be stuck without any sort of subway service between Kennedy Station and Scarborough for at least two years, “leaving residents and commuters on the bus” according to The Star.
Aikins says that Metrolinx is “confident” this won’t actually happen.
“In the initial planning stages, there was some concerns that you perhaps would have to shut down while you build a station on top of another station,” she told CP24 on Tuesday morning. “So we identified that as an issue and then we worked around it.”
This solution involves a combination of shifting the tracks, reducing the size of the station and staging construction work on weekends, according to Aikins.
Tory says there was doubt “way back in July” whether SRT would have to be shut down in order to build the Scarborough subway extension, but a solution has since been found. He does not state that Metrolinx does not specifically know how to solve the problem.
— Ben Spurr (@BenSpurr) February 13, 2018
“We are building a design that won’t require shutting it down,” she said, noting that an updated budget for the project is expected sometime soon.