GO Expansion borehole testing

Digging into GO Expansion

Geotechnical testing across GO network helps lay groundwork for GO Expansion program.

Mar 20, 2023

Gathering data on things like soil type, texture, structure, density and absorbency is a critical step when it comes to the design and construction for structural foundations.

As different ground conditions can sometimes require different construction approaches, soil samples need to be collected and examined before construction work can begin.

That’s exactly what’s happening now as part of next steps for GO Expansion – the program that will ultimately add more, faster GO train service across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton region.

Over the next year, ONxpress (Metrolinx’s partner in the On-Corridor portion of the GO Expansion program) teams will be deployed across GO’s rail corridors to conduct these geotechnical collections by drilling boreholes, collecting soil samples, and gathering more information about the soil conditions at different places in the region’s rail corridors.

Check out this video explaining boreholes, and what customers and residents might see along the rail corridors through 2023.

What’s a borehole?

To get the soil samples, ONxpress will be using a drill rig to drill a hole in the ground.

The drill loosens the soil and digs down to create a ‘borehole.’ Once the desired depth is reached, the team will replace the core drill bit with a ‘spoon’ – a hollow cylinder that is pushed into the ground.

Once complete, the spoon can be split, and the samples retrieved. These samples can then be taken to the lab for study and analysis.

GO Expansion borehole testing

A drill in action, gathering soil samples. (Metrolinx image)

When will borehole work start?

Borehole work has already started at two sites in late 2022 – one near Maple GO and another near Pickering GO. This work wrapped up in late January.

Up next, work near East Gwillimbury GO, Bradford GO, Stouffville GO, and Scarborough GO will get started in March.

Keep an eye out for notices from your local Metrolinx community engagement team with information on any borehole work happening in your neighbourhood.

GO Expansion borehole testing

A ‘spoon’ full of a soil sample ready to be sent for analysis. (Metrolinx image)

What can you expect?

Over the coming months, boreholes will be drilled in various locations across the network, with teams typically spending about 3 weeks working at each site.

Notices will be sent to nearby businesses and properties ahead of this work.

Most of this work is expected to take place during daytime hours, but in some cases, there may be a need to complete work after train service has ended for the day to ensure the safety of all crew members.

Looking for more information on boreholes? Read the fact sheet.

by Rosie Hales-Wilson Metrolinx senior communications advisor