In 'extraordinary step,' company building Eglinton Crosstown hits province with lawsuit
Transit megaproject not set to open until well into 2022
Crosslinx, the company building Toronto's Eglinton Crosstown LRT, is suing Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario as it faces upwards of $134 million in unexpected costs it says were caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Crosslinx says it performed an analysis that showed the first wave of the pandemic added $134 million to the megaproject's costs, and warned a second wave could drive that price tag even higher.
In a news release, Crosslinx spokesperson Kristin Jenkins called the move an "extraordinary step" and attacked the two provincial agencies for their "refusal to declare COVID-19 an emergency and recognize the significant impacts the global pandemic is having on Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction."
Metrolinx is already firing back, saying Crosslinx was behind schedule before the pandemic hit.
Crosslinx, the statement said, "has consistently failed, month after month, for two years, to achieve their production rates," noting since 2018, only 72 per cent of planned work has been completed.
Crosslinx is attempting to use the COVID-19 pandemic to excuse its years of poor performance. Read the statement from our CEO, Phil Verster, on why getting the Eglinton Crosstown back on schedule, not litigation, must be the focus. <a href="https://t.co/xJw0N4qEZ3">https://t.co/xJw0N4qEZ3</a>—@Metrolinx
It added there's a dispute resolution process in place and urged Crosslinx to use that, rather than the courts to solve its issues.
"Rather than legal action, we need CTS to focus on what is most important — getting the Eglinton project completed," Metrolinx said.
Crosslinx has sued Metrolinx before, in 2018, over the megaproject's timeline. That lawsuit was settled.
Costs driven by sick calls, supply chain woes
It blames the soaring costs on a range of factors, including:
- Implementing provincially-mandated COVID-19 health and safety protocols
- High rates of "COVID-related absenteeism"
- Supply chain problems
Crosslinx added its subcontractors are facing similar problems, and that it has received hundreds of notices requesting relief in the form of more time or more money.
The company said in a news release it is still dedicated to completing the transit line, the opening of which is now not expected until well into 2022, according to Metrolinx. The more than $5 billion project was originally slated to open in 2020.
CBC Toronto is chasing reaction from Infrastructure Ontario.
You can read the full legal filing in the PDF below: