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BC launches bidding process for $2.8-billion Broadway Subway to Arbutus

Kenneth Chan Feb 15, 2019 2:07 pm 176

The approved project to extend the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Street has entered its bidding phase.

The provincial government announced today it has launched the first step of the competitive procurement process, which is a request for qualifications (RFQ) to identify a private contractor to design, build, and finance the $2.8-billion, 5.7-km-long, six-station SkyTrain extension project under Broadway. The contract is also expected to finance $450 million during the construction period.

The RFQ submission deadline is in April.

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Up to three respondent teams will be selected to participate in the upcoming phase of the competitive selection process, which will involve the submission of a detailed design and plan for the request for proposal (RFP) stage. The provincial government is aiming to select a contractor in April 2020 to allow for construction to begin later that year for a 2025 opening.

Provincial crown agency Transportation Investment Corporation will be managing the bidding process and overseeing construction on behalf of the provincial government, which owns the SkyTrain network and provides TransLink with the responsibility to operate and maintain it.

The project will fall under the government’s Community Benefits Agreement that stipulates major public sector infrastructure projects in BC must pay workers union wages. Similar requirements are also in place for the Pattullo Bridge replacement project, which is another project under the direct control of the provincial government.

The Broadway Extension to Arbutus Street will be mainly a bored tunnel, apart from a short elevated track in the False Creek Flats and some cut-and-cover subway station construction on Broadway.

Some pre-construction work involving the construction of new trolley bus wires on West 12th Avenue, Cambie Street, and Macdonald Street will begin later this month. It was originally scheduled to begin last week, but it was delayed due to snowfall.

This 16-month-long project is being performed to allow for several trolley buses to be partially rerouted around the major construction work slated for Broadway.

Earlier today, TransLink’s Mayors’ Council officially approved the usage of SkyTrain technology for the future seven-km-long rail transit extension from Arbutus Street to the UBC campus. The approval allows TransLink staff to conduct SkyTrain planning, however, this project reaching UBC — expected to cost up to about $5 billion in 2030 dollars — is currently unfunded.

By 2045, the entire Millennium Line extension from VCC-Clark Station to UBC is anticipated to see 311,500 daily boardings, with 192,700 between VCC-Clark Station and Arbutus Street and 118,8000 between Arbutus Street and UBC.

For the Canada Line bidding process about a decade and a half ago, three private consortiums of companies were shortlisted, including one bid led by Hong Kong’s MTR Corporation and Siemens AG Canada. The two bids that were selected to advance into the RFP process were led by SNC-Lavalin and Bombardier, and ultimately the SNC-Lavalin bid was chosen.

Earlier this decade, SNC-Lavalin was also chosen as the contractor for the Evergreen Extension.

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