Anyone who lives in the Liberty Village/Parkdale area or commutes into Toronto from the northwest via train would have seen an impressive transit infrastructure project take shape over the last two years. Up at the surface, anyone living or moving through the east end of Liberty Village will also have experienced quite a bit of construction pain, which is now translating into a tangible infrastructure gain.

One of the first GO Trains through the below-grade corridor, image courtesy of MOne of the first GO Trains through the below-grade corridor, image courtesy of Metrolinx

As part of Metrolinx’s Georgetown South Project, a crucial component of the The Big Move, the Strachan Avenue Overpass is a grade-seperation project that removes the street level rail crossing at Strachan Avenue, replacing it with a below-grade rail corridor and a new Strachan Avenue overpass. Split into two side-by-side passages, each is wide enough for four tracks. The north corridor is now open and all Kitchener, Barrie, and Milton GO trains and VIA trains have been rerouted to run underneath Strachan Avenue on the new tracks.

The Big Move, Strachan Avenue Overpass, Metrolinx, Parkdale, Liberty VillageGO Train in the new north Strachan Avenue Overpass, image courtesy of Metrolinx

The massive triangular and columnar struts that span the top of the rail corridor not only support the retaining walls but also provide an interesting visual appeal by showcasing the impressive engineering effort required for such infrastructure.

The Big Move, Strachan Avenue Overpass, Metrolinx, Parkdale, Liberty VillageBird's-eye-view of the north Strachan Avenue Overpass project, image courtesy of Metrolinx

Technically, it is not the new bridge for Strachan Avneue that has opened at this point: it remains to be completed, as does much other work on the trench corridor: it's the fact that this is the first to be achieved of seven grade separations throughout Metrolinx’s rail network aimed at reducing congestion for motorists and pedestrians. Specifically, Strachan Avenue is a busy north-south throughway with high vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The removal of the street level rail crossing not only means improved safety but also unimpeded and improved traffic flow of vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians who will not longer have to wait for rail traffic to pass before crossing.

The Big Move, Strachan Avenue Overpass, Metrolinx, Parkdale, Liberty VillageNorth corridor excavation, image courtesy of Metrolinx

The design of the Strachan Avenue Overpass project was the outcome of an extensive community consultation process by Metrolinx with Liberty Village and Parkdale neighbourhoods. The strutted design was chosen as the preferred scheme after community members had an opportunity to vote online on four options for the corridor. The beautification plan for the retaining wall, which runs along Douro Street, was also part of a community advisory process. Neighbours had the opportunity to inform the finish of the wall and adjacent landscaping, helping deter graffiti and enhancing greenery.

The Big Move, Strachan Avenue Overpass, Metrolinx, Parkdale, Liberty VillageConstruction of north retaining wall with soldier piles, image courtesy of Metrolinx

The south Strachan Avenue Overpass corridor is currently under construction and will share the same strutted design of the north corridor, with design details still to be implemented on both. The Strachan Avenue bridge is still under construction too. The Georgetown South Project will provide infrastructure improvements to meet existing GO Transit ridership demand and future growth. Through track sharing, it will also accommodate a new Union Pearson Express service between Toronto’s Union Station and Pearson International Airport.

You can get a look at the renderings of the completed project in our dataBase file, linked below, as well as be directed to the official website for the project. Want to talk about it? Choose the associated Forum thread link to join in on the conversation, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.