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Field Report: Union Station Revitalization - The Big Dig

Click on each image for a closer look!

On the morning of October 12th, I took part in a media event hosted by the City of Toronto to update to update the media regarding the status of the dig down portion of the Union Station Revitalization Project. During this media event, the media was taken deep into what will be the new concourses and retail space of Union Station. 

As seen in the images the space is massive and very much under construction still. The dig down is comprised of 4 stages with the first stage, consisting of the York Street concourse, comprising 66 percent of the total work of the dig down with the other 3 stages comprising the bay street concourse, retail concourse and resulting connections only making up 33% of the work being done in the dig down.  This is as result of the complexities involved in the work being done. 

For example, to close the Bay Street concourse and rebuild it work has to be completed first in the new York Street concourse in order to shift GO Transit's operation over thereby keeping the station operational.  Currently, there are over 400 total columns in and around the dig site that need to be braced with roughly 130 or so being completed as of October 12th,  2012. 

According to Richard Coveduck, Director of Design, Construction and Asset Preservation for the Union Station Revitalization Project, strengthening the columns has been no easy feat given that they support the train tracks above. In order to prevent any issues sensors were placed on all the columns to monitor for movement. Also, in order to accommodate a new loading dock some steel columns in the dig down on the York Street side of the station had to be replaced in order to accommodate the trucks and their turning radius. 

Currently more than 2.5 football fields worth of space has been excavated with no major issues being found pertaining to the fill that was placed on the site in the 1910's and 1920's. While the project is massive in scale, the York Street concourse is on track to open at the end of 2013 with an entrance being constructed in the former Harvey's archway on the west side of the Great Hall.  This entrance will lead to the new GO concourse that will be built in the York Concourse. 

On the east side of the Great Hall in the archway where security is now located, another entrance will be built leading to a new Bay Street Concourse in 2016. The project is scheduled to be on track and on time with no major deviations from the planned budget.

We offer a special thanks to the City of Toronto and Carillion Construction for providing access to the site for the purposes of this report.

Report and photos by Richard White, TRHA Volunteer

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