Transit passengers in Metro Vancouver will be able to use the Evergreen extension of SkyTrain’s Millennium Line beginning on Friday, December 2.
The official opening date of the $1.43-billion, 11-kilometre-long rapid transit rail extension into Port Moody and Coquitlam was made at a press conference this morning. Six new stations have been built for the extension, excluding a new third platform at the existing Lougheed Town Centre Station.
“The Government of Canada recognizes that we need a solid partnership with all orders of government to support infrastructure projects that help the middle class grow and prosper now and into the future,” Ron McKinnon, MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam, said in a statement. “The Evergreen extension will help get people where they need to go safely, efficiently, and comfortably, and I am very pleased that it will be in service in the coming weeks.”
When open, with 79 kilometres of track, SkyTrain will re-earn the title of the world’s longest fully-automated railway system, beating the Dubai Metro.
Passengers will be able to take a one-train, transfer-less ride from VCC-Clark Station in Vancouver to the new Coquitlam terminus at Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station in approximately 35 minutes. For end-to-end journeys within the newly-built span of track from Lougheed to Lafarge Lake-Douglas, travel times will be approximately 15 minutes.
The travel options will also widen for those who use the West Coast Express commuter rail service as passengers will be able to transfer to SkyTrain at the new Coquitlam Central Station and Moody Centre Station hubs.
Some bus routes in Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Port Coquitlam will change in the weeks ahead to integrate with the new SkyTrain extension. This will include the cancellation of the existing 97 B-Line express bus service, which parallels the route of the Evergreen extension.
Park and ride facilities are being built at several of the stations, including a 415 space facility at Coquitlam Central Station, 150-space facility by Lafarge Lake-Douglas Station, and 85-space facility at Moody Centre Station.
Project planners estimate approximately 50,000 riders will use the Evergreen extension on a daily basis upon opening, and ridership will grow to 70,000 riders per day by 2021.
There will be a ripple effect systemwide as the Evergreen extension is projected to lead to a 25% increase in ridership at Commercial-Broadway Station. An additional inbound platform and secondary pedestrian overpass across Broadway is currently being built at the station to handle the growth in foot traffic, but the upgrade will not reach completion until summer 2017.
“We are thrilled that our customers and neighbours across the Tri-Cities will soon have more transit choices to seamlessly connect to the Metro Vancouver transit network,” Kevin Desmond, CEO of Translink, said in a statement. “We are focused on ensuring a smooth transition for customers and continue to get ready behind the scenes; testing the extension, planning the Community Celebration, and preparing for bus integration after Evergreen opens.”
The Evergreen extension was originally slated for an opening in the summer of 2015, but delays with tunnel boring forced project officials to push the opening date to fall 2015, then early-2017. In early-September, it was announced that the extension would open before this Christmas.
Map of the Evergreen extension showing new stations:
Map of the SkyTrain extension after the opening of the Evergreen extension: