In the near future, commuters on the northbound Allen Expressway may have to look for an alternate route.
As the tunnel-boring machines make their way under Eglinton Avenue W. heading east, they’ll have to stop before the Allen Expressway, be removed, and then put back into the ground on the other side of the Allen.
“The problem is that [the boring machines] can not go underneath the existing subway,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc, whose ward includes the junction of the Allen and Eglinton. “So the engineers have to have a lot of elbow room to dig that hole and put this tunnel-boring machine in.”
As a result, the city is expecting a formal request to have the Allen’s northbound lanes closed from Eglinton Avenue W. to Lawrence Avenue W. not just for space, but also to accommodate the trucks that will be shipping out all the soil between the Allen and Yonge Street. That closure would likely be in 2014 and is expected to last around a year.
Though the road closure might seem like a headache for some, Mihevc warns there are consequences to leaving the Allen open in both directions.
“The initial indication is that if they don’t do it, it will cost another year of construction,” he said. “And I think it’s tens of millions of dollars more cost.”
Recommendations are expected this fall, including the results of a traffic study on the effects of closing the northbound Allen on local neighbourhoods.
Mihevc said it’s important to remember that although the LRT is a great project, there will be impacts on surrounding communities.
“When this project is done we’ll all be very proud of this underground LRT in our community. However, between now and when this project is finished, there’s going to be a lot of local neighbourhood inconveniences,” he said. “Our job is to understand it, to try to minimize it, and to mitigate against it.”
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