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Construction begins on $55.5-million Metrotown Station

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DH Vancouver Staff Feb 26, 2015 5:20 pm

The first construction phase of a major $55.5-million retrofit to SkyTrain’s Metrotown Stations, one of the region’s busiest and oldest SkyTrain stations, has begun.

TransLink announced today that the elevator at Metrotown Station has been shut down so that site preparation can begin for the construction of the new additional central station entrance that will consist of new elevators and stairs.

Three new elevators will be open in spring 2016 when the first phase of the project reopens.

In the meantime, passengers requiring the use of the lift – those with disabilities and strollers – can use a HandyDART Shuttle between Patterson and Metrotown stations or a Community Shuttle for passengers with strollers between Metrotown, Royal Oak and Patterson stations. Both bus shuttles will run every 15 to 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays and holidays.

This is being implemented as the only other alternative to the shuttle service is a complete 15-month shutdown of the major station to allow for construction to occur. TransLink expects demand for the shuttles to be high and is asking the public to allow for extra time when planning their travels, particularly during peak hours.

“We know that some of our customers will need extra help getting between stations while construction is underway, and that’s why we are providing a shuttle service,” said Fred Cummings, VP Infrastructure Management and Engineering of TransLink, in a statement. “This allows us to keep Metrotown Station open while we make much-needed improvements that will give our customers a facility that is more accessible, safe and secure.”

The entire project is comprised of three phases, with the last phase scheduled for a fall 2017 completion.

This includes a reconstruction of the existing east (main) station entrance with an expanded ground-level ticketing concourse and escalators. Another entrance is to be built on the west side of the station with escalators, where the emergency staircase is currently located.

A new pedestrian overpass above Central Boulevard to the shopping centre is among the elements of the new design, although it will be located at a more centralized location between Metropolis and the new Station Square project.

Other upgrades will consist of a new station platform roof, improved lighting, and additional customer amenities such as a bike parking facility and space for retail units. Early proposals to relocate the bus exchange under the SkyTrain station have been shelved due to opposition from the City of Burnaby.

These station upgrades are necessary given that Metrotown Station is not built for its current foot traffic and is currently experiencing overcrowding issues during peak hours. It serves 50,000 train passengers per day plus 25,000 bus passengers through the bus exchange. The platform level is currently serviced by just one elevator, one up escalator and one narrow staircase mainly used for down foot traffic.

The improvements are needed to accommodate both existing and projected high ridership growth at the station.

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The upgrade is part of TransLink’s Expo Line strategy, which includes upgrading seven stations. Construction is expected to begin soon on the Commercial Drive-Broadway Station upgrade, a project largely focused on the construction of a fifth platform, while the Main Street-Science World Station upgrade will come to an end in the summer of 2016.

A total of $195-million is being spent to retrofit the stations, with $41-million provided by the Government of Canada, $83-million from the Government of British Columbia and $71-million from TransLink.

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SkyTrain Metrotown Station
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SkyTrain Metrotown Station
Image: TransLink

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D8d194f40cb13417f79d4d8daee34fdb?s=96&d=mm&r=g
DH Vancouver Staff
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