Building a tunnel from the outside in

The west portal of the new downtown transit tunnel is on LeBreton Flats, immediately west of Bronson.

For two years, looking down from Commissioner Street into the excavation revealed only a steep slope going down underground. It was a road, traversed mostly by trucks to get into the tunnel. The sides of the road cut were steel posts and wooden retaining beams, visible in the picture below.

Now, that steep truck slope has been ground down to a gentler slope required for the tracks, and the few hundred feet that was open air cut is being covered up as tunnel sections are built. Here is a view into the cut, with the tunnel roof advancing toward us. The already-underground bored-out tunnel portion is below the feet of the cameraperson standing on Commissioner Street; the final tunnel portal is off in the distance slightly around the bend towards Pimisi Station.

Here’s the opposite view, from the Booth Street Freeway bridge at Pimisi Station, looking back towards the downtown:

The real, final tunnel portal is shown towards the right side; the previously discussed electrical transformer station is the gray building towards the left, and the aqueduct and Claridgeland further to the left.

The white building is a temporary construction shed, and will be replaced someday with the Jim Watson Public Library.

5 thoughts on “Building a tunnel from the outside in

  1. .Here’s what I think: The whole thing could have been, should have been on grade for what time savings will occur. Other similar sized cities did it many times over, but we have an administration bent on spending money unwisely. (The nest excess will be those VIA underpasses). Think of what we could have built in additional km’s (Kanata? Barrhaven? Et al) if we had saved the billions we dumped into the earth. And the jobs this project created would have been just as many.. False news created by you know who

  2. OH no! Say it ain’t so! We should have Alex Munter as our mayor. Instead we have Namby-Pamby Jim Watson. A mayor who is afraid to raise taxes to really reflect the true cost of running a city. A mayor who is afraid to officially come out of the closet and be a role model for gay, (and I mean gay- not queer or LGBTQSx2) young men.

    One of the real affordable pleasures in my life is utiising the Public Library. Where would I be without it? Now I’m going to be reminded of Auntie Jim everytime I walk through the new library building’s door?

    I worked for years at The Rockcliffe Retirement Residence. Let me tell you Jim is adored by the moneyed blue rinse set. A typical day at work changes into one of anticipation and excitement- and then I realise it’s because Auntie Jim is attending the Strawberry Social! I really can’t bear it anymore. Was there any public input about naming the new library? I’d prefer The Charlotte Whitton Anti Semitic Book Storage…….Meanwhile I’m still thinking…..

  3. Interesting. I was unaware they were covering that section of trench. With the library going in right beside that section, it makes me wonder whether the intention is for the library project to leverage the air rights over the train tunnel for P3 developer benefits.

  4. Dennis: somewhere in the past I have a vague memory of someone telling me it was covered to support parkland or a parking lot but not a building, which would require (expensive) beams to bridge the whole width of the cut. Ditto for the Flats, where the Sens plan to cover the tracks would be much more affordable if the two tracks were split apart 10′ to allow for centre pillars to support the deck above, but the city opted instead to minimize the total ROW width .

Thank you for reading. So what do you think?