Rossi’s Toronto Tunnel
The claim: Rocco Rossi said his proposed Toronto Tunnel — an 8-kilometre subterranean expressway — could cost as little as $105 million per kilometer.
Background: Rossi’s tunnel would extend the Allen Expressway, which currently ends at Eglinton Ave. W., all the way to the Gardiner Expressway.
The eight-kilometre traffic tunnel would be financed through a public-private partnership, he said.
“A determination of an exact cost estimate will require an engineering report,” Rossi’s campaign said in a statement. “However, similar projects in Switzerland, Australia, Los Angeles, Seattle, Nanjing, and some underway, like in Miami, suggest that the cost . . . can be as little as $105 million per kilometre.”
Smell test: While it’s easy to raise the spectre of Boston’s Big Dig, where a 5.6-km tunnel ended up costing the city about $22 billion (it was budgeted to be $2.8 billion), The best comparison to Rossi’s plan is Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct, said Brian Garrod, of the engineering consulting firm Hatch Mott MacDonald.
The 3.1-km tunnel’s size — 16.5 metres in diameter with two stacked, two-lane expressways — is similar to what the Toronto Tunnel would look like, he said.
The cost of simply designing and building the Alaskan Way is about $1.4 billion — roughly $450 million per kilometre, four times more than Rossi’s projection.
In addition, cities generally have to pay easements to owners whose property a tunnel passes beneath, a significant cost considering the number of properties that lie between Eglinton and the Gardiner. Easements could be 10 per cent to 50 per cent of each property’s value, Garrod said. Also, actual costs for mega-projects such as a traffic tunnel, on average, come out to 28 per cent higher than the forecast costs, according to studies. The Alaskan Way project has $415 million set aside for cost overruns and inflation, which brings the tunnel’s total cost to $1.96 billion — roughly $632 million per kilometre.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Rossi Fails the Smell Test
Rocco wants a tunnel. Rocco throws out a number to build it. The Star has the real numbers here.