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Workers are seen at the Eglinton Crosstown West Launch Shaft during the official launch of tunnel-boring machines in Toronto, Ont., June 5, 2013.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

The province is looking for bids on billions of dollars of construction work on the Eglinton Crosstown, the next big step toward a new transit line due to open at the end of the decade.

Metrolinx released the formal request for proposals Thursday from two approved consortia to undertake most of the construction work on the line, a light-rail route that runs partly below the surface.

"Better transit is on the way," Jack Collins, executive vice-president for rapid transit implementation at the regional transit agency, said Friday.

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The contract is for all construction work other than the bare tubes of the tunnels, which are being bored now, and the headwalls at each station location. Among the requirements are required work includes track beds, rails, electricals and stations.

Neither Metrolinx nor Infrastructure Ontario officials wanted to discuss the possible value of the contract, saying that would come out in the bid process. But Mr. Collins said it will represent "more than half" of the project's $5.3-billion overall price-tag.

Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario had previously undergone a process to determine qualified bidders, based on their track record and ability to deliver, and settled on two consortia. Each is a mix of foreign and domestic firms. Crosslink Transit Solutions consists of SNC-Lavalin, ACS Infrastructure Canada, EllisDon, Aecon, Dragrados and IBI Group. The competing group, Crosstown Transit Partners, is made up of Fengate Capital Management, OHL Concesiones, STRABAG, Bechtel Development Co. and Obayashi Canada Holdings.

Obayashi is one of the companies currently boring the line's west tunnels while a joint venture of Aecon and Dragrados was recently awarded the contract to do the east tunnels.

Infrastructure Ontario vice president Rob Pattison said Friday that the consortia can be expected to spend $20-million to $30-million on their bids and that the lowest-priced bid that meets the requirements will be chosen. The preferred contractor should be selected next winter and the final contract agreed on by the spring of 2015.

The Crosstown is slated to open late in 2020.

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