Could the years-late Crosstown LRT finally open in September?

For years midtown residents have been kept waiting for the Crosstown LRT to finally arrive. Not only has it not arrived, but Metrolinx, the provincial agency behind the project, has become increasingly tight-lipped about offering any kind of date. But, a recent TTC budget report indicated that the long-anticipated opening of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT might be in September 2024.

Despite months of speculation and a reluctance to disclose a projected date, the city staff report suggests that the TTC is prepping for a potential September date. 

“The TTC is planning for opening of Lines 5 and 6 in September 2024, but this may change,” reads the report.

Earlier reports indicated a possible December 2024 opening, which is also possible, given Metrolinx has confirmed nothing at this point. 

“Thanks for reaching out on this one,” a Metrolinx spokesperson wrote to Post via email, regarding the December date. “As noted, CTS has made progress on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, but unpredictable technical issues affect the opening date significantly. There are still many risks in the project schedule that prevent us from being able to give a confirmed opening date; however, we intend to do regular technical reviews and will update the public more as the project progresses towards completion and service.”

Despite the challenges faced during construction, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT is reportedly over 97 per cent complete. Additionally, the proposed 2024 budget includes a freeze on TTC fares, following a 10 cent increase in 2023, to alleviate the impact on riders amid current economic conditions. 

The projected cost to operate the TTC in 2024 is estimated at $2.57 billion, with revenues covering $1.34 billion and the remaining $1.23 billion requiring funding from the City of Toronto.

The construction of the LRT commenced in 2011 with an anticipated completion date of 2020. Nevertheless, a series of obstacles, such as the identification of a concrete flaw and an ongoing legal dispute between Metrolinx and contractor Crosslinx Transit Solutions, have resulted in persistent setbacks and complications.

In 2018, the project’s budget stood at $11.78 billion, encompassing the costs of design, construction, financing and a 30-year maintenance plan for the light rail transit (LRT) system. 

Recently, that figure had surged to $12.81 billion.

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