Construction set to start on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension

Preliminary work on the construction of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) will begin in May, in a portion of the Northwest Gate Parking Lot, south of Steeles Avenue West.

This is the start of what will be significant construction work on York University’s Keele campus over the next four to five years, with the construction of the subway line through the campus as well as two subway stations – York University station at the east end of the University’s Harry Arthurs Common and Steeles West station at Northwest Gate and Steeles Avenue West.

Right: Diagram of tunnel (in purple), station (yellow) and special track (bright green, near Steeles) construction areas in and around the Keele campus

"As this significant construction project proceeds," said Gary Brewer, York vice-president finance & administration, "the Department of Campus Services & Business Operations, working with my office and the York University Development Corporation, will provide ongoing communication to the University community about subway construction activity, related closures and interim arrangements – so as to minimize disruption to the University’s operations and programs to the extent possible, and ensure safe passage for vehicles and pedestrians around areas affected by construction."

The construction involves the excavation and support of the access shaft that will be used for the entry and operation of the tunnel boring machines – powerful circular cutting machines that will drill a tunnel deep in soil with minimal disruption to the street or ground above. Excavation of the shaft is expected to be completed by November 2010.

Left: A tunnel boring machine in action

During this early phase of construction, a section of the Northwest Gate Parking Lot will be closed to accommodate the construction. Access to the Northwest Gate Parking Lot and the remaining parking spaces will be maintained during this phase.

Work will run from Monday to Friday, from 7am to 7pm, with no work on statutory holidays. There will be limited lane restrictions eastbound on Steeles Avenue West, east of Murray Ross Parkway. Due to the nature of the construction, motorists could face traffic delays.

Additionally, Construction vehicles will access the construction site in the parking lot from Steeles Avenue West. During deliveries of construction material or equipment, traffic movement on the eastbound side of Steeles Avenue West may be delayed or limited to a reduced speed.

The tunnel boring machines are scheduled to arrive sometime between the end of 2010 and early 2011 to begin excavation on the tunnel.

For more information, visit the TYSSE Web site or e-mail A 24-hour comment line is available at 416-393-4001.