New Visual Advancement in Broadway Subway Construction (PHOTOS)
While the subway portion of SkyTrain’s Millennium Line Broadway Extension draws most of the project’s attention, construction work also recently reached a new milestone on the project’s short elevated track section within the False Creek Flats.
Earlier this month, construction crews progressed with the installation of the first girders over a series of 21 concrete columns that form the 700 meter elevated driveway between the existing VCC-Clark Station and the future underground Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station.
The girders installed to date, located northeast of the Emily Carr University of Arts and Design building, mark the beginning of the transition from an elevated railway to a tunnel.
As for the latest advances on the five-kilometer subway segment, on March 4, the tunnel boring machine named Elsie began digging towards Broadway-City Hall Station from Mount Pleasant Station (intersection of Main Street and East Broadway) .
Elsie made her first station breakthrough on January 23 when she arrived at Mount Pleasant Station. She began construction of the eastbound tunnel on October 7, when she was launched from the tunnel boring station and future location of the Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station.
Phyllis, the second tunnel boring machine for construction of the westbound tunnel, was first launched on November 29 and is expected to make its first breakthrough very soon, within days at Mount Pleasant Station.
When the tunnel boring machines at the stations light up, it is also an opportunity for the crews to perform regular maintenance on the equipment. Inside the station boxes, these machines slowly slide along temporary steel rails to reach the other end of the station and prepare to resume their drilling work.
Excavation and lining work is underway for the remaining Broadway-City Hall, Oak-VGH and South Granville stations in preparation for the arrival of the twin tunnel boring machines.
At Broadway-City Hall Station, excavation is now underway on Cambie Street north of West Broadway to construct the direct underground route between the southbound Canada Line platform level and the new Millennium Line concourse deep beneath West Broadway. This follows previous work to relocate and widen the combined sewer under this area of Cambie Street.
But it is only after the tunnel boring machines have passed through the stations that the extensive large-scale construction work on the multi-storey underground station buildings begins until completion.
If all goes according to plan, tunnel boring operations will be fully completed sometime in the fall of 2023.
Both tunnel boring machines are pulled out of a pit on Cypress Street – one block east of Arbutus Station.
The two city-block span of West Broadway between Arbutus and Maple streets is currently being excavated, with the westernmost block destined for Arbutus Station and the easternmost block destined for a major track switch that will provide the opportunity for trains to reverse course terminus.
The full 5.7km Millennium Line extension and six new subway stations are expected to open in early 2026. This results in a slight delay; The project was originally scheduled to open in late 2025, but a five-week strike by local concrete plant workers in June 2022 pushed back the start of tunnel boring from summer 2022 to fall 2022.
Construction of the 39-story mixed-use building by PCI Developments has also progressed in the area of the rental tower above the multi-story base podium for retail and office use. The building’s distinctive ground-level corner area at the intersection of Granville Street and West Broadway will provide an integrated entrance to South Granville Station.
For a seamless journey on a train on the Millennium Line, travel times from Arbutus Station are approximately six minutes to Broadway-City Hall Station, 11 minutes to VCC-Clark Station, 12 minutes to Commercial-Broadway Station, and 47 minutes to Lafarge-Lake – Douglas Station in Coquitlam.
A significant ridership of 135,000 to 150,000 boardings per day is expected when the $2.8 billion Broadway Extension opens – more than the entire Canada Line in 2019.