Danger due to deep excavation

Water main replacement on Avenue Road

Added 2011-04-03

On Avenue Road just south of Glencairn, exactly where Mud Creek used to cross into Lytton Park (the creek was buried years ago, replaced by a storm sewer), a huge excavation has been made as part of the mammoth project to replace the water main.

Excavation on Avenue Road at Glencairn

The large section of steel pipe in the foreground is not actually the water main itself, which is only 750 mm in diameter. For the sake of comparison, the wheels on an adult bicycle, such as my sweetie leaning against the lamppost at the left, are 700 mm in diameter. The water main will be encased in concrete inside the steel pipe.

The multi-year 5.4-kilometre project runs from the High Level Pumping Station just off Poplar Plains Road near Dupont, all the way north to Caribou Road just south of Lawrence; the City of Toronto has a PDF map with details.

At this spot, they've prepared an access shaft, easily ten metres deep, from which they will be tunnelling in both directions. According to the Toronto Star story Tunnelling beneath Avenue Road never a bore, "Tunnelling is less disruptive but more complicated and needs launch and retrieval shafts. It is also the obvious choice for sections where the water main must be installed deep, below the existing maze of utilities." I'm going to guess that storm sewers such as Mud Creek's are among the utilities to be avoided.

Access shaft, Avenue Road water main project

A glimpse down into the access shaft reveals some interesting machinery, including a string of lights which I imagine being used in the tunnel, just like in that movie The Great Escape.

Tunnelling lights in the access shaft

For more information about Toronto's water infrastructure, see City of Pressures 1: Water Distribution.

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