The tentative opening date of the much-delayed Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit (LRT) line will be revealed by the end of the summer, the head of Metrolinx announced Thursday.
Phil Verster, the chief executive officer of the Crown agency, was asked during an unrelated news conference about the status of the LRT, which will be the future Line 5 of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).
“There’s been a huge amount of work to figure out what a credible schedule looks like,” he said.
“(I’m) keen to give you by the end of the summer a clear indication of when that Line 5 would be in service.”
It will be the first time that Metrolinx will provide a possible date of completion for the transit line that was initially set to open in 2020.
Construction on the $5.5 billion Crosstown began in 2011.
Since then, it has been plagued with issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain problems, leading to its opening date being pushed back several times.
The construction and ensuing delays have also caused headaches for residents and businesses along Eglinton Avenue.
Earlier this year, there was more uncertainty on when the line would open to the public after more than 200 quality control issues, including improperly laid tracks, were discovered.
As recently as May, it was reported that the Crosstown won’t be operational until next year.
On Thursday, Verster noted that Metrolinx will announce a range of dates instead of an exact opening day, saying it is still impossible to provide that as the line is still in the testing and commissioning phase.
“This is when technical, complex issues are found fixed, rectified. And it’s not really clear before you found the problem how long it’s going to take to rectify,” he said.
Verster also shared that the Crosstown reached a key milestone this week as Metrolinx and the TTC signed off to start training operators, which is critical towards completing the line.
As for quality control issues found earlier this year, the CEO said that they have been “remedied to our satisfaction.”
MPP Stan Cho, the associate minister of transportation who was also at the news conference, said construction of the line is 98 per cent complete.
“The priority now is about making sure this is safe to operate. You don’t want to rush and open a line. We see what happens with the example of what’s happened in Ottawa with the derailment of the light rail there,” he said.
“People have suffered long enough waiting for this Crosstown to be completed. We were going to open when it’s safe to do so.”