The longest and perhaps most famous escalators in Metro Vancouver will be replaced in a major upgrade project starting in late May, and the public transit authority is warning of the coming disruptions over the next 24 months.
TransLink announced today that the original three long escalators of Granville Station at the station’s Granville Street entrance will be completely removed and rebuilt using new equipment and parts in a highly time-intensive removal and installation process.
While new escalators are often prefabricated off-site and lifted into place at the location of installation, the Granville Station escalators are located within a tight location, which necessitates private contractors to perform a piece-by-piece process of installation.
The original escalators are now 32 years old and handle about 30,000 people per weekday. Each escalator has 167 steps, running at a length of 115 ft and a height of 46 ft. All three escalators have clocked a collective mileage of about 385,000 km, a distance equivalent to 10 times around the planet.
A total of six escalators will be replaced, as three other shorter escalators linking the concourse and platform areas have also reached the end of their useful life from heavy wear and tear.
As a result, the main escalators and the Seymour Street entrance into the station will be completely closed until further notice beginning May 26.
Passengers will still be able to access the station from the Dunsmuir Street entrance and the Granville Street entrance’s passageway towards the Dunsmuir Street entrance, but the public transit authority warns that if multiple escalators at the Dunsmuir Street entrance are not running there could be instances when the entire station must be completely closed for safety reasons.
Passengers should also consider using Burrard Station and Stadium-Chinatown Station, which are both located a short walking distance away.
Given that all of the station’s foot traffic will be redirected to the Dunsmuir Street entrance, TransLink says it has taken measures to increase the capacity, efficiency, and reliability of this remaining, newer entrance completed in 2006 under The Hudson residential building.
Maintenance crews are performing extensive “proactive maintenance” on the Dunsmuir Street entrance’s three escalators to reduce the need for unplanned maintenance, and replacement parts have been pre-ordered to allow for quicker repairs.
There will be clear wayfinding signage and additional SkyTrain attendants to guide and assist passengers.
And earlier this spring, two additional fare gates were squeezed into the Dunsmuir Street entrance’s concourse area.
The entire escalator replacement project at Granville Station is expected to cost $14.5 million, with funding partially provided by the federal and provincial governments.
Granville Station is SkyTrain’s third busiest station, just behind Commercial-Broadway Station and Burrard Station.
Last summer, TransLink opened a new west entrance into Metrotown Station consisting of three escalators reaching 46 ft in height – the region’s second tallest escalators.
Improvements to 12 other Expo Line stations will begin next year, including sweeping upgrades to Burrard Station, which will include a new elevator-only secondary entrance with six elevators.
Sometime over the coming summer months, TransLink is anticipated to open Commercial-Broadway Station’s new additional fifth platform and secondary pedestrian overpass crossing over Broadway to provide passengers with a new foot connection between the station’s Expo and Millennium platforms.