Underground river no threat to LRT

Infrastructure can handle the water, says official

Concerned at all about water issues affecting the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project at Bayview Avenue? Both the city and the province have advice: Don’t be.

According to Jamie Robinson, director of community relations and communications for Metrolinx, the provincial transit body in charge of building the Crosstown LRT, an environmental assessment done three years ago by the city and TTC “looked at everything across the line in terms of all the underground stations and lines.”

Robinson said an underground river was found there, but “the water is not a problem for the tunnel, nor will it be for the station.”

“These structures are tightly sealed so no water would come in,” he said in a telephone interview.

And since the province is aware of the underground river, precautions will be taken when building both the Crosstown LRT line and the station at the intersection, he said.

“There are standard engineering practices that are utilized to ensure the groundwater isn’t impacting the infrastructure,” Robinson said.

The underground river the city found in 2010 is known as Walmsley Brook, according to Helen Mills, who founded the Lost Rivers program, a group of guided tours of forgotten streams in Toronto.

The river starts near Lytton and Duplex in North Toronto, crosses Yonge at Albertus, flows underneath the Metro parking lot on the northwest corner of Bayview and Eglinton and on through Talbot Park, continuing eastward through Leaside until surfacing near the Ontario Science Centre, she said.

That Walmsley Brook is actively flowing is not a concern for the city, according to Ted Bowering, acting director for water infrastructure management at the City of Toronto. Any potential problems should not be more than Metrolinx can deal with, he said.

“They’re not unheard of problems,” he said. “But they are problems they’ll have to be aware of and have to plan for.”

Bowering said a system similar to what is in most subway systems and underground parking garages will likely be employed. It includes waterproofing the structure and building in sump pumps to send any water into the city sewer system.

Robinson said water is not an issue unique to Bayview, but that there are similar water issues in many places along Eglinton.

Bowering said the city has also begun to look into more natural solutions to building infrastructure as well.

“We’ve become much more aware lately of the importance of building infrastructure that’s flexible,” he said. “By that I mean building things that don’t depend as much on pumps and pipes, but depend more on keeping the water out in the first place.”


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By: Shawn Star
Posted: Nov 12 2013 3:04 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto
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