I thought the cost of expanding the Union loop is the main blocker for Waterfront East LRT. But maybe there are other tricky parts as well.
Its an yes and no answer.
Yes, its a stopper for having riders to catch the 509 and 510 at Union loop, but can catch a bus to get to QQW as well the 509 route.
No. If the QQE is built first up to the new portal, this allows service to Union Loop to remain in service. As the QQE nears the new portal area, TTC then shuts down service to Union and tear up the existing portal to built the T connection and the QQE portal.
There are 2 options from my point of view to do the work and there is an extra 6-9+ months time line to do the work. The longer time line is to the full portal and the work to get service inside of the Bay tunnel for a short distance. Once done, the Bay Tunnel is close off to allow work in the tunnel as well the loop
The shorter time line would see TTC build the east portal up as close it can get to the existing one, then tear it down when the line is shut down. You then do the work to connect both portals as well the tunnel work. By the time the work is done, QQE is ready to be open as an e-w line. It will also reduce the distance for riders to get to/from Union as well to/From QQE/QQW.
As I stated, then TTC can do what they have to do with the tunnel as well the loop on their own schedule with no interfering with the QQ line. The city wants to tide the tunnel work with the work plan for Bay St and being on its own, does not effect service on QQ line.
Stand to be corrected, 2024 will see the Bay St ramp close for the Gardiner so the new Yonge St off ramp can be rebuilt along with the removal of the Jarvis off ramp. It will allow the new intersection for the Lake Shore as well giving lane to the One Yonge St project to built the final tower for it. The City has the option to do the Bay St work then or defer until work starts on the tunnel work.
If work can start on the QQE section in 2024, the new line could be in service by 2027/28. Since design is supposed to be at 30% now, the rest of the year could see design at 100% with a short tendering in Q1 of 2024. The longer it takes to get to tender stage, further down the road the opening of the line will push to.