Broadway Subway opening delayed to 2026

Nov 25 2022, 3:01 am

Eager public transit riders will have to wait just a little while longer to be able to ride the Broadway Subway, as its scheduled completion and opening date has now been slightly moved into the following year.

In a bulletin released late Thursday afternoon, the provincial government indicated the SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Broadway Extension to Arbutus is now set to open in early 2026 instead of the previous target of late 2025.

This is due to the five-week strike of concrete plant workers in the Lower Mainland in June 2022, which delayed the tunnel boring process from the original plan for a Summer 2022 start to early Fall 2022 instead.

More specifically, the first of two tunnel boring machines, named Elsie, began boring on October 7. Elsie is currently boring the eastbound tunnel. The provincial government stated today Elsie has made “significant progress” toward Mount Pleasant Station (Main Street and East Broadway) — the first of five subway station breakthroughs.

As of this week, the second tunnel boring machine, named Phyllis, for building the westbound tunnel, is now fully assembled and set to launch imminently.

The provincial government states an update on the project timeline will be provided in Spring 2023, when station excavation and tunnel boring are further advanced. The project is still within its $2.83-billion budget.

If all goes as planned, it will take about one year to complete the five-km-long segment of tunnel from the launch site and staging area at Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station and the tunnel boring machine extraction site at Cypress Street, which is located just east of Arbutus Station. Each machine is expected to build up to 18 metres of tunnel daily, with each machine measuring six metres in diameter and 150 metres in length.

skytrain broadway subway tunnel boring machine october 3 2022

Early October 2022: assembly process for Broadway Subway tunnel boring machines, Elsie and Phyllis. (Government of BC)

skytrain broadway subway tunnel boring machine october 3 2022

Early October 2022: assembly process for Broadway Subway tunnel boring machines, Elsie and Phyllis. (Government of BC)

It was also noted today that more than half of the columns for the 0.7-km-long elevated guideway between VCC-Clark Station and Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station are now complete.

Overall, the Broadway Extension of the Millennium Line between VCC-Clark Station and Arbutus Station will extend the SkyTrain network’s length by 5.7 km and add six subway stations. On a seamless one-train ride on the Millennium Line, travel times from Arbutus Station will be about six minutes to Broadway-City Hall Station, 11 minutes to VCC-Clark Station, 12 minutes to Commercial-Broadway Station, and 47 minutes to Lafarge-Lake Douglas Station in Coquitlam.

Upon opening in 2026, the Broadway Extension is expected to see a significant ridership of between 135,000 and 150,000 boardings per day — more than the entire Canada Line in 2019.

From Arbutus Station, riders will use a truncated 99 B-Line service for the remaining journey reaching the University of British Columbia (UBC), until the Millennium Line is further extended west of Arbutus to reach the campus. The UBC SkyTrain extension is not expected to be ready until the early 2030s.

skytrain broadway subway tunnel boring machine october 3 2022

Early October 2022: assembly process for Broadway Subway tunnel boring machines, Elsie and Phyllis. (Government of BC)

skytrain broadway subway tunnel boring machine october 3 2022

Early October 2022: assembly process for Broadway Subway tunnel boring machines, Elsie and Phyllis. (Government of BC)

Construction on the $4-billion, 16-km-long, eight-station Surrey-Langley SkyTrain extension of the Expo Line is expected to begin in 2024 for an opening in 2028.

SkyTrain Millennium Line’s Evergreen Extension’s opened in December 2016, a delay of more than a year from its original scheduled target in Summer 2015. The Evergreen Extension encountered major issues with its tunnel boring process due to poorer than anticipated ground conditions, which led to instances of sinkholes. Unlike the Broadway Extension, the Evergreen Extension used a much larger diameter single boring machine to build tracks for both directions in one passing. Construction on the Evergreen Extension first began in 2013.

The Canada Line opened in August 2009, about four months earlier than contractual obligations.

broadway subway skytrain millennium line station map names

September 2020 updated map with the final station names of the Millennium Line Broadway Extension. (Government of BC)

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