Construction progress on the project to build SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Broadway Extension is becoming more apparent, with the provincial government providing new aerial footage for a different perspective.
As of the latest update on the construction timeline, the $2.83 billion project of extending the Millennium Line westward to reach Arbutus Street is expected to open in early 2026. If all goes as planned, it will be ready in time for Vancouver’s influx of visitors for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the summer.
Key to meeting this revised timeline is the progress on tunnel boring. After beginning their digging process just under a year ago, both tunnel-boring machines are now approaching the halfway mark in their journey of building twin five-km-long tunnels between Great Northern Way and Cypress Street.
The tunnel-boring machine named Phyllis has since overtaken her sister Elsie as the lead tunnel-boring machine.
Phyllis resumed boring activities on August 3 from Broadway-City Hall Station, after taking a long maintenance break at the station following her breakthrough at the station on May 26.
On September 8, Elsie launched from Broadway City-Hall Station, where she has been located since making the first breakthrough at the station on April 14.
Phyllis is building the westbound tunnel, while Elsie is building the eastbound tunnel.
The aim is to complete tunnel boring before the end of 2023. The halfway point in boring is between Broadway-City Hall and Oak-VGH stations, with both machines still needing to make breakthroughs at Oak-VGH, South Granville, and Arbutus stations.
After the machines pass through a station, some construction work on the station structures can advance, such as the walls, columns, and floors. But the full range of construction work can only advance when the tunnel-boring process comes to a full completion.
The Broadway Extension is expected to see up to 150,000 boardings per day upon opening, with travel times of about 12 minutes between Arbutus Station and Commercial-Broadway Station, and 47 minutes on a one-train ride between Arbutus Station and Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station in Coquitlam. Passengers will complete the remaining journey to the University of British Columbia on a truncated 99 B-Line route from Arbutus Station’s bus exchange until the Millennium Line is further extended westward to campus.
Elevated guideway west of VCC-Clark Station
Concrete decking is being installed over the structure of concrete girders for the 700-metre-long elevated guideway in the False Creek Flats between the existing VCC-Clark Station and the tunnel entrance. This comes ahead of the next major step of installing the railway infrastructure.
Tunnel entrance and Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station
The tunnel portal for the transition between an elevated guideway and subway, located immediately east of the future Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station, is taking shape. Some construction works on the subway station structure, which doubles as the tunnel boring staging area, are also underway.
Mount Pleasant Station
Work on the deep foundations of the entrance building for Mount Pleasant Station at the southwest corner of the intersection of Broadway and Main Street is visible.
Broadway-City Hall Station interchange with Canada Line
Broadway-City Hall Station’s construction site is one of two subway stations with a longer two-block length construction pit, with the east block used as the footprint of a major crossover track switch, and the west block used for the station itself. Aerial footage shows the beginnings of the underground footpaths that will directly link the Canada Line platforms with the future Millennium Line platforms.
The entrance building pit for Oak-VGH Station at the southwest corner of the intersection of West Broadway and Laurel Street has been fully excavated as of early this month.
This station is the next breakthrough destination for both tunnel-boring machines.
South Granville Station
There are two main components to South Granville Station: the underground construction project for the subway station structure led by the provincial government’s contractor, and the 39-storey, privately-built, mixed-use tower that will provide the entrance into the station.
Construction on the tower is nearing 75% of its ultimate height. The station entrance will be prominently integrated into the building’s ground-level streetfront at the northeast corner of the intersection of Granville Street and West Broadway. Earlier this summer, it was announced Loblaws City Market will be an anchor retail tenant for this development.
Construction on the 39-storey tower integrated with #SkyTrain‘s future South Granville Station has reached Level 24.
220+ rentals, 100,000 sf office, 7,000 sf retail/restaurant, 22,000 sf Loblaws City Market… a successful transit-oriented development in the… pic.twitter.com/P0XbTIcXxw
— Kenneth Chan (@iamkennethchan) August 7, 2023
The Arbutus Station construction site spans two blocks between Arbutus and Cypress streets, with the west block used for the subway station structure and the east block used for the major crossover track switch, enabling trains to reverse direction from this new terminus station for the Millennium Line.
Both tunnel-boring machines will end their journey by breaking through the wall at Cypress Street, where the machines will be extracted.
— Kenneth Chan (@iamkennethchan) August 13, 2023