Following years of debate and discussion, the Ontario government is one step closer to getting shovels in the ground on part of the largest subway expansion in Canadian history with the expectation that the Request for Proposals (RFP) to advance tunnelling work on the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) will be issued in the coming days.

“After waiting over 30 years for a subway, our government is taking another critical step forward to build the improved, three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension for the people of Scarborough,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This project will create thousands of jobs, drive housing development, and triple the daily ridership to help reduce congestion and cut travel times for riders and commuters.”

On August 20, 2020, the province will invite the selected teams from the Request for Qualifications process to respond to an RFP that details how they plan to design and deliver the tunnelling work for the SSE. Upon evaluating the proposals received, Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx expect to award this tunnelling contract in mid-2021.

“The RFP release is the next step in our plans for transit expansion in Scarborough as we develop a world-class transportation network that gets people where they want to go, when they want to get there,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Each project milestone demonstrates our commitment to building a modern, efficient rapid transit network that best serves Scarborough for generations to come.”

To expedite work on the SSE, tunnelling will begin first, to be followed by separate contracts for the balance of the work.

“Issuing this RFP demonstrates that we are making progress on these priority subway projects to reduce commute times,” said Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). “With the province and municipal governments now firmly supporting our transit expansion plan, we continue to jointly call on the federal government to provide its fair share ― funding at least 40 per cent of our four nationally significant subway projects. Formalizing this funding partnership with the federal government remains a top priority.”

The release of the RFP is part of the government’s continued commitment to deliver the largest subway expansion in the country’s history to commuters and businesses in the GTA. On August 5, 2020, Ontario announced  three teams of bidders per project were shortlisted to advance tunnelling work on two of the four priority transit projects, the SSE and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, included in the Subway Transit Plan for the GTA.

In April 2019, the province announced its historic new transportation vision, with a preliminary estimated cost of $28.5 billion. In addition to the SSE and the Eglinton extension, this plan includes the all-new Ontario Line and the Yonge North Subway Extension. Planning is underway for all four priority projects.

The SSE will extend the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) Bloor-Danforth Line 2 approximately 8 km via three stops, from Kennedy Station to a new terminus at Sheppard Avenue and McCowan Road.

The preliminary design business case estimates the SSE will provide 38,000 people with walking distance access to rapid transit and see 105,000 daily boardings by 2041.

The SSE will reduce the number of vehicle kilometres travelled during rush hour by 30,000 km, significantly reducing traffic congestion and auto-related greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 tonnes annually.

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