The City of Toronto is investing more than $3 billion to improve water quality in the Don River and along the central waterfront of Lake Ontario.

“I am pleased to mark the arrival of the tunnel boring machine as the City prepares to dig the Coxwell Bypass Tunnel,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “Through this tunnel we can capture and store rain and wastewater and transport it for treatment and disinfection so clean water is released into the lake. This project is of great importance to our city and the future of our waterways. I am determined to secure the help of the federal and provincial governments to speed up this work so we can see the benefits of this project a decade earlier.”

This project is the first stage of the Don River and Central Waterfront Wet Weather Flow System—one of five connected projects to improve water quality in the Lower Don River, Taylor-Massey Creek, and along Toronto’s Inner Harbour.

The Coxwell Bypass Tunnel is a part of the overall Don River & Central Waterfront (DR&CW) project. This tunnel will capture, store, and transport combined sewer overflows for treatment at the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant.

A tunnel boring machine (TBM), named Donnie, was lowered into the 50-metre-deep and 20-metre-diameter shaft at the Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant in sections and then assembled.

“The arrival of this massive tunnel boring machine is a real milestone for the Coxwell Bypass Tunnel work, the first of this multi-stage project,” said James Pasternak, councillor for Ward 6 (York Centre) and chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee. “Years of planning, engineering and design will soon be realized as Donnie gets digging to create what will be a significant piece of infrastructure. This project will be of critical importance to our growing city and will improve the quality of Toronto’s waterways which will benefit generations to come.”

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Once testing is complete in the new year, the TBM will dig the 6.3-meter diameter and 10.5-kilometre long Coxwell Bypass Tunnel. The machine will work its way west along Lake Shore Boulevard East to Don Roadway, north up the Don River valley to the North Toronto Treatment Plant, and then east to the Coxwell Ravine Park shaft site where the tunnel ends. The Coxwell Bypass Tunnel is expected to be completed in 2024.

More information about the project is available here. A backgrounder about the Coxwell Bypass Tunnel and the Don River and Central Waterfront project is available here.

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