Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit, Canada, Design and Build

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Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit, Canada, Design and Build

The Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit is part of a 25-year transportation plan to provide an integrated transportation and transit system within the region. The project includes 19 km of light-rail transit running both underground and at-grade. There are 15 underground stations, 10 stops and a maintenance and storage facility for the vehicle fleet. With the ground-breaking ceremony in 2016, it became the largest public transit project under construction in Canada.

SNC-Lavalin is part of the consortium awarded the contract to design, construct, maintain and partially finance this project, which is Canada’s largest public-private partnership in the public transit industry.


The Eglinton Crosstown project will be tightly integrated with other transportation modes such as bus routes, three subway stations and various commuter rail lines. It is the largest transit expansion in Canada’s history and a project of this size can present some unique challenges. 

Preserving a piece of history

There was a need for excavation work under a four-storey, 45-metre long heritage building that would form part of a new station. After a careful assessment, the building was lifted and moved 60 metres from the site on specially constructed tracks. It was eased back into place just over a year later.

Minimizing disruptions

Eglinton is being built in the busy heart of a major city, so minimizing disruptions to traffic and the community is a priority. One way we resolved this was by switching from the bottom-up construction originally planned on some parts of the line to top-down construction instead. This allowed crews to dig down a couple of metres, lay a concrete slab and backfill it. Construction will then continue underneath, allowing the roads to remain open. 

Three of the stations are also being built by the sequential excavation method (SEM) to avoid substantial utility relocations and to minimize disruptions to traffic and the public. 


Operations are scheduled to begin in 2021.

At surface, the light-rail transit line will ease traffic and congestion, move people up to 60% faster than existing bus services and handle more than 10 times as many passengers. For transit users, it will provide 25 new stations and stops, linking up to 54 bus routes, three subway stations and various GO Transit lines. And, it will provide a fast, reliable and convenient transit option that carries passengers in dedicated right-of-way separate from regular traffic.


  • 2016 Best Transit and Aviation Project (Silver); P3 Bulletin Award
  • 2015 Gold Award (Project Financing); Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships’ Excellence

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