TTC's Spadina subway extension to cost at least $150M more
Troubled project won't be complete before the end of 2017
The project to extend the Spadina subway to York University and into Vaughan will cost at least $150 million more than budgeted and won't be completed until late 2017 at the earliest, TTC CEO Andy Byford announced Friday.
"The publicly stated opening date of the end of 2016 and the approved budget are not achievable," says a TTC report that will come to the TTC board at its meeting next week.
The report calls for a complete "reset" of the project, and lays out a number of options to speed it forward, including the use of a third-party-project manager to push the troubled project to completion by December 2017.
The report calls for the extra $150 million to be shared by the municipalities of Toronto ($90 million) and York Region ($60 million). The project was originally budgeted at $2.6 billion.
The report lays out four options for changing how the project is managed but recommends the TTC appoint a single project manager rather than issue a call for proposals. Byford says this route has the best chance of getting the project completed by the end of 2017. Other options, such as keeping the TTC in charge, would lead to greater overruns and won't see the line begin service until 2019.
So where will the extra $150 million come from?
The report recommends Toronto's portion come through mechanisms such as the TTC's "2014 operating budget surplus, net property sales and/or the potential deferral of projects."
In a statement released Friday, TTC chair Josh Colle said he supports the changes called for in the report. He also said the TTC needs to better manage large capital projects.
"It is unacceptable that the Spadina Subway Extension is delayed and over budget," said Colle. "The status quo cannot continue with respect to this project, or any of the TTC’s major capital infrastructure projects.”
The project, which is now 70 per cent complete, will extend the line by 8.6 kilometres and add six stops north of its current terminus at Downsview station to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. The project was originally slated to enter service in 2015. By 2012, the completion date was pushed back to the end of 2016.
The report released Friday points to a number of factors that delayed the project, including:
- Difficulty finalizing station designs with various groups involved.
- Delays locating utilities.
- A fatal accident at the York University Station site in October 2011 in which a worker was killed. The TTC report says the province's labour ministry shut down the York University station site until its investigation wrapped up in February 2012.
- TTC's relationship with some of the contractors that became "strained" over issues of scheduling, premiums and incentives.
Yesterday the TTC announced that two managers had been fired amid a change of leadership on the team leading the subway expansion.
Byford said other management changes may be needed to keep the project on track.
"It's not the first management change I've made at the TTC… it may not be the last," he said.