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Noise and Vibration

At Metrolinx, we are committed to completing the Georgetown South (GTS) Project with minimal disruption to our neighbours. That is why we have developed a Noise and Vibration Mitigation and Monitoring Strategy for construction and operation of the GTS Project.

The strategy builds on the noise and vibration recommendations from the project's Environmental Assessment study, and provides an overview of the general mitigation measures for the project. It is also the basis for site-specific construction noise and vibration mitigation and monitoring plans prepared for individual segments of the rail corridor during construction, and operational noise and vibration assessments.

During Construction

We will review major construction sites prior to construction and monitor them throughout all construction phases for both noise and vibration levels. If levels are found to be above typical levels for construction for sustained periods of time, we will investigate the source of the noise and implement mitigation measures as required.

To view the specific reports for each project, please see the Noise and Vibration section on the following pages:

Black Creek/Black Creek Drive | Carlingview Drive Underpass | Corridor Grading, Track and Signals | Denison Road Underpass | Humber River Bridge | Strachan Avenue Overpass | Weston Tunnel | West Toronto Diamond Grade Separation

Noise

The majority of the work will take place during regular construction hours (Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Saturdays (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) when necessary. This respects the City of Toronto noise by-law.

However, because of certain restrictions, we may be required to work outside the regular construction hours. One of the biggest challenges we face is that we are working on an active corridor. This means that we are restricted in the work we can do during peak times due to train movement.

We will provide advance notice to the surrounding community when these extended hours are planned.

How we will assess noise during construction

There are several factors we will consider in assessing noise during construction. This includes identifying sensitive receptors. Sensitive receptors are areas that are considered to be sensitive to noise, including residential dwellings, schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, seniors’ residences, and places of worship. Commercial and industrial buildings are typically not considered sensitive receptors relative to noise.

We will consider the existing noise environment, the noise levels during construction activities and the adjacent land use. We will also assess the potential noise effects from haul roads for construction-related trucks, based on projected haul traffic counts, including dump truck and delivery truck movements and excavation haul traffic volumes.

Noise mitigation during construction

We want to be proactive in mitigating noise from the construction project where required. That is why we are assessing several factors that will allow us to determine what, if any, mitigation will be required during construction and for how long it will be needed. These factors include:

  • Frequency of the noise event – How often does the noise occur?
  • Duration of the noise event – How long does it last?
  • Perception of the noise by the receiver – As some people are more sensitive to sound than others, we will consider how loud the noise is perceived to be
  • Sound frequency – A low frequency sound is perceived differently than a high frequency sound, so we will consider the pitch of the noise

We will take several actions in an effort to mitigate noise during construction of this project. Metrolinx will provide a detailed impact assessment and comply with the Ministry of Environment operating standards. All construction equipment on site will be operated in accordance with Ministry of the Environment publication NPC-115.

We will use vehicles and equipment with efficient muffling devices and employ alternative equipment that generates less noise where possible. This includes avoiding impact pile driving where possible. We will install rubber linings in equipment such as chutes and dumpers to reduce impact noise.

Vehicles that are used for extended periods of time (two days or more) will be fitted with sound reducing back up (reversing) alarms, while adhering to construction safety standards. We will also supply electrical power directly from the grid where possible to avoid continuous use of generators.

In addition to these mitigation measures, specific areas along the corridor may require supplementary mitigation, depending on the noise generated and duration of construction activities. In these cases, supplementary mitigation that may be implemented includes:

  • Conducting noise compliance checks to ensure equipment levels respect City of Toronto by-laws and Ministry of Environment (MOE) Standards, including NPC-115;
  • Re-routing construction and truck traffic;
  • Coordinating noisy operations so that multiple noise-generating equipment is not running simultaneously where possible;
  • Investigating and implementing the use of alternative construction equipment or methods to reduce noise emissions from construction where possible and economically feasible; and
  • Installing acoustic enclosures, noise shrouds or noise curtains around noisy equipment where necessary and feasible.

Monitoring noise during construction

Metrolinx is working directly with independent third parties to regularly monitor construction noise along the corridor.

During construction, we will conduct noise monitoring at locations that are representative of the nearest sensitive receptors.

To monitor the levels, we will take into account the existing noise environment, the absolute noise levels during construction activities, the duration of the construction and the adjacent land use.

If levels are determined to be above typical noise levels for construction activity, and have a long duration, the noise monitoring reports will be reviewed and, if necessary, additional measurements will be done at the location of concern to determine if further mitigation is needed.

Where construction work unrelated to this project is underway in the same area, there is a chance increased noise and vibration generated by other construction activities outside the Georgetown South Project may impact noise and vibration levels in the community. In such cases, the owners of those unrelated projects are responsible for managing the noise and vibration resulting from construction on their sites.

Vibration

Prior to construction, we will conduct pre-construction condition inspections for all buildings within 50-100m of the work area. This inspection documents the current condition of the property prior to construction, and involves taking photographs outside and inside the property. It also includes the inspection and reporting on pre-construction foundation and structural conditions of any historic resources in the area, including designated heritage buildings and structures.

How we will assess vibration during construction

During construction, we will assess vibration with respect to human perceptibility and potential building damage. We will measure the baseline vibration levels to benchmark current vibration levels, so we can compare levels during construction with the baseline to determine the level generated by our construction.

We will investigate impacts where in-ground vibration levels are 5 mm/s (millimeters per second) or more.

Vibration mitigation during construction

We will undertake several measures to mitigate vibration during construction of the project. This includes:

  • Operating in accordance with local by-laws whenever possible;
  • Considering the use of alternative construction methods to minimize vibration;
  • Using lower vibration-generating equipment where practical; and
  • Avoiding impact pile driving where possible and technically feasible.

In addition to these measures, specific areas along the corridor may require supplementary mitigation, depending on the vibration generated and the duration of construction activities. This includes:

  • Adjusting energy input/speed of processes;
  • Imposing operational time restrictions on construction equipment;

Monitoring vibration during construction

Metrolinx will work directly with independent third parties to regularly monitor construction vibration along the rail corridor. We will conduct vibration monitoring at locations representative of the nearest sensitive locations.

In the event that the vibration measurements are beyond regular construction levels and have a long duration, the reports will be reviewed and, if necessary, additional measurements will be done at the location of concern to determine if further mitigation is needed.

Where construction work unrelated to this project is underway in the same area, there is a chance increased noise and vibration generated by other construction activities outside the GTS Project may impact noise and vibration levels in the community. In such cases, the owners of those unrelated projects are responsible for managing the noise and vibration resulting from construction on their sites.

During Operation

We have developed a Noise and Vibration Mitigation and Monitoring Strategy to address both the construction work over the next few year as well as operation of our expanded rail service to minimize the impact to our surrounding communities.

Operational Noise and Vibration Mitigation Report

The Operational Noise and Vibration Mitigation report provides recommendations to address operational noise and vibration impacts that will occur after enhanced train service is introduced in the Georgetown South rail corridor over the next 15 years. Noise mitigation is required when there is an impact of 5 dB or greater and vibration mitigation when there is a 25% increase above 0.14 mm/s RMS.

Main Report
Appendix A – Community Feedback
Appendix B – Train Volume and Speed Projections
Appendix C – Detailed Results of Operational Noise Impact Assessment
Appendix D – Planned Noise Mitigation
Appendix E – Example Noise Wall Images
Appendix F – Planned Vibration Mitigation

The report recommends noise mitigation that is required for the service levels planned for 2015 as well as for Future Build service levels (i.e. the long-term plan for full-day, two-way service). Based on the community's feedback, Metrolinx has decided to install the Full Build noise mitigation (sound walls) for Opening Day 2015 along the Georgetown South Project rail corridor. As a result, noise levels will be quieter than they are today.

Based on an additional review of the modelled results, we will be providing noise walls at all locations recommended in the 2009 Environmental Project Report as well as some additional places where we believe noise walls are merited because of unique situations.

Thank you to everyone who attended our operational noise and vibration mitigation public meetings in November 2011 and our public meetings in February 2012.

Continuing Consultation

Thank you to everyone who expressed an interest in participating in our Noise Wall Community Advisory Committees (CACs). To help guide the design of noise walls in each neighbourhood, eight Committees were established along the corridor, from Bathurst Street to the Humber River Bridge. Each Committee had a mix of local residents and community groups. The CACs provided an opportunity for local neighbourhoods to help design the look and feel of the walls that will reduce sound as train service increases along the corridor. Learn more ...

Vibration Mitigation in Mount Dennis Revisited

The Operational Noise and Vibration Study, finalized in February 2012, outlined operational noise and vibration mitigation along the Georgetown South rail corridor. No vibration mitigation was required between Rogers Road and Jane Street because the proposed new tracks followed  the existing track alignment with no projected train speed increases.

However, in April 2013, the tracks were realigned to protect for a future Eglinton GO Station. Track 4, the western most track to be added to the corridor, will be aligned closer to the west side of the corridor from approximately Ray Avenue to Cobalt Street. The two tracks being added for 2015 now require vibration mitigation.

At a public meeting at the Mount Dennis Legion on June 26, 2013, these changes in vibration mitigation were shared with the community. An additional commitment was made to provide vibration mitigation for the addition of a future fourth track and the eventual replacement of the existing track.

Presentation | Updated Aerials

West Toronto Diamond Noise and Vibration Study Released

Since the West Toronto Diamond Grade Separation had its own environmental assessment process and did not address noise impacts related to the Georgetown South Project, we decided to complete a separate noise and vibration study for this section. The noise walls for the West Toronto Diamond will be installed at the same time as the rest of the Georgetown South Project.

The West Toronto Diamond Grade Separation Noise and Vibration Study is now complete. The results show that no vibration mitigation is required and only a small number of noise walls are needed between the project limits of St. Clair St. W. and Dupont St. This is because the construction of the West Toronto Diamond Grade Separation will lower the GO rail corridor which significantly reduces train noise.

West Toronto Diamond – Operational Noise and Vibration Assessment

We will include this section of noise wall consultation with the existing noise wall community advisory committee covering the area between Bloor St. W. and Dupont St. We believe that since this section includes part of the West Toronto Railpath, there is an opportunity to ensure consistency in design between the areas. We will be engaging with the community to ensure that it stays up to date on the design process.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact 416-604-9582 or gts@gotransit.com.

Georgetown South Rail Corridor Expansion – Assessment of Noise Impacts with Electrification of Union Pearson Express and GO Trains

In response to community questions about whether the noise walls would still be required if the Union Pearson (UP) Express and GO service was electrified, Metrolinx completed an assessment to identify exactly what the noise levels would be with an electrified service. Georgetown South Rail Corridor Expansion – Assessment of Noise Impacts with Electrification of Union Pearson Express and GO Trains has now been released.

The results of this study demonstrate that the average noise level difference between an electric-powered and diesel-powered rail service for both the UP Express and GO service is negligible. The average decrease in noise is about 2 decibels. Please see the full report below to review the electrification noise assessment.

An electrified rail service for both UP Express and GO Transit still requires noise walls for the vast majority of locations. For the few locations that would no longer have a 5 decibel increase with electrification of the future train service levels, GO Transit has determined that the noise increases would still be significant and local communities would benefit from the installation of a noise wall.

Georgetown South Rail Corridor Expansion – Assessment of Noise Impacts with Electrification of Union Pearson Express and GO Trains

Questions or Concerns?

If you have any concerns about noise and vibration related to the Georgetown South Project, please contact us at gts@gotransit.com.

Alternatively, you can visit or call our Strachan or Weston Community Office. The Community Relations team at these offices will take a report of your questions or concerns and will work with the project delivery team to investigate.

Improving public transit together Noise wall Committees GTS Toolkit

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