Disruption from service locomotives

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June 3, 2016

Dear Neighbour, 

As you may know, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT Project includes a 10-kilometre underground portion. Two Tunnel Boring Machines (or “TBMs”) are building the 3.5km eastern underground section of the Crosstown tunnels between Brentcliffe Road and Yonge Street. The TBMs are making great progress tunneling at an average rate of over 10-15 metres per day.  They have completed approximately 70% of their journey and expected to be at Yonge Street in early September.

Recently, our community office began to hear from people indicating they are experiencing noise and vibrations related to the service locomotives. The locomotives run in and out of the tunnels twice an hour along temporary tracks and are transporting construction materials to the TBMs, in particular concrete tunnel liners. 

In response to these concerns and to understand the full magnitude of the issue, Metrolinx retained a Noise and Vibration Specialist to conduct a study.  Using highly specialized equipment noise and vibrations levels were measured within several homes along Eglinton Avenue.  The study has been completed and a report has been prepared

The results of the report indicate decipherable levels of noise and vibration.  However, these levels are virtually indistinguishable from those created by the local traffic, namely buses and heavy trucks. And, the levels detected are well within limits set by the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto.

While the City of Toronto does have by-laws which stipulate the allowable limits for both noise and vibration (see City of Toronto Noise by-law 591-1 & City of Toronto Vibration by-law 514-2008), it should also be noted that clause 591-2.1 of the above stated noise by-law stipulates that “noise resulting from Tunnel Boring Machines (“TBM”) and other related rail and tunnel activities for Eglinton Crosstown LRT transit system is exempt from the limits outlined”. We also note that the vibration results found are well within the allowable limits set forth by Vibration by-law 514-2008, which is intended to protect structures during construction.

Regardless, as a result of the findings, several mitigation measures have been explored by Metrolinx, with the most feasible and practical at this point in the tunneling schedule (given that the tunneling is approximately 70% complete) being increased track and locomotive maintenance by the contractor. This additional maintenance will serve to reduce the gaps and imperfections along the temporary track, which should reduce both the resulting noise and vibrations created by the locomotives.  However, the noise and vibration associated with the locomotives will not be eliminated completely.

Metrolinx would like to acknowledge and thank the property owners who volunteered their homes for these tests. All were exceptionally cooperative, helpful and welcoming despite the obvious disruption during the setup and measuring process.

Again, we greatly regret the inconveniences caused by Crosstown construction, and we continue to work to complete the project as soon as possible. We thank you for your patience as we deliver this important transit expansion project. If you have questions with respect to the project please contact us.


Jamie Robinson

Director, Community Relations & Communications