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Part 1 -- Construction update: Brampton GO Station

Update — January 14, 6:50 a.m.: Construction is continuing.

For more than two years, GO Transit contractors have been working to improve Brampton GO Station. GO is building a new platform south of the current tracks and a new west tunnel to allow pedestrians to cross under the tracks. It’s also improving the east tunnel by installing pedestrian and elevator access to both platforms.

In July, 2008, the project required the City of Brampton to close off part of Railroad Street. (Brampton Transit detoured buses operating along the 52 McMurchy route around the barriers on Railroad Street until just recently.)

In April this year, GO closed the east pedestrian tunnel for extensive rehabilitation. This effectively restricted access for passengers transferring between GO Transit trains at Brampton GO Station north of the tracks and GO or Brampton Transit buses at the Downtown Brampton Terminal, south of the tracks. It also temporarily removed some of the parking spaces at the station to allow contractors to work on the tunnel.

Regular Transit Toronto reader Robert Wightman has been updating us regularly on the status of this project, but other deadlines have prevented us from using Robert’s valuable information about the status of the work at the station — until now.

Robert’s reports on recent work at the station offer an insight into the end of a major infrastructure project as the workers face two compelling deadlines: GO’s public announcement that it would open the pedestrian tunnels in December and finish all work by February and the inevitable onset of winter, preventing anyone from working much outdoors until spring.

November 18

New signs went up at Brampton Station today, announcing that GO would re-open the east tunnel on December 1 and that it will finish all construction in February, 2010. It will only open the east tunnel to provide access to the bus terminal; to the south. The access to the lower parking lot will still be closed, because contractors have not yet installed the elevators. The construction area around the boiler room west of the station in the north parking lot is ready for paving and the contractors should have removed all construction material by December 1.

The western half of the south platform, where cars six to ten from the locomotive stop, is, for all intents and purposes, finished. Workers are installing a public address system, lights and trim. They still need to install the eastern half, serving the locomotive to car 5 and with the wheelchair platform and none of that platform is finished. The elevator and stairs from the tunnel to the platform are roughed in but the elevator has not been started. Workers are also installing a set of stairs from Main Street to the east end of the south platform. The new structures blend in nicely with the existing station but are of a very modern, essentially pre-fabricated construction.

When finished, the eastern half of the south platform will be an elevated structure with part of the locomotive stopping on the bridge over Main Street.

November 23

Work crews paved the parts of the main parking lot on Saturday that they had ripped up up earlier for construction and repainted the lines. They also repaired and repainted the west end of the north platform. They still need to repave the east end but they still are working at the elevator site. Today they removed all the construction fencing from the parking lot and the spaces should be available tomorrow for parking tomorrow. Fencing still stands around the boiler building and the west end tunnel because the contractors haven’t yet finished working on them.

November 30

On Friday (November 27), contractors finished paving the north platform just minutes before the early GO train arrived. On Saturday (November 28), they were working on the exit from the east tunnel at the south side of the station. This is the one that GO announced that it was opening on Tuesday, (December 1). Unfortunately, the workers have not installed either elevator. A few parking spots at the very east end of the main parking lot are not usable because of construction hoarding. The lower east parking lot has about ten spots that are unusable. The hoarding is down from the north platform entrance to the tunnel but a gate is across it.

December 1

The east stairwell is open to provide passengers access from the north platform to the lower-level northeast parking lot only. The tunnel under the tracks is not open yet, because the contractors are still working overhead on the building. They have started to install a traction elevator - a standard cable-hauled elevator — for the north side. They are still working to finish off inside the east tunnel and install the roof on the stair and elevator building at the east side of the south platform. They have poured the concrete steps from the south platform to Main Street and they need to finish the sides and support structure for them.

December 15

On December 14, the City removed the barriers that blocked half of Railroad Street from George Street to Mill Street. It also scraped the road clear and installed pylons to force the westbound traffic back on to its side of the road. Westbound vehicles had previously been traveling on the eastbound lanes for two years. Some traffic is going eastward along Railroad Street, but the City has not removed the “One way - Do not enter” sign.

Work is still progressing on the station building at the southeast stairwell and elevator building. Contractors are still working overhead so they cannot open the tunnel. They have installed more than half of the north elevator but have installed none of the windows in the lower part of the building, nor any of the doors.

December 18

Workers finished the east-end tunnel and intend to open it in time for the afternoon trains. They will likely work until the second week of January then not work throughout the winter until March. They finished the roof on the south side stairs.

December 21

The east tunnel opened for passengers on foot. The elevators on the north side are almost half-ready, although GO has not yet started to work on the south elevator. Railroad Street is also fully open.

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