Construction on SkyTrain's new Capstan Station to begin in August

Jul 30 2021, 8:37 pm

The project to provide Richmond with a new additional SkyTrain station on an existing segment of the Canada Line is expected to enter its construction phase in August 2021, after the municipal government and TransLink reach an agreement to initiate this stage of work.

TransLink and the city announced in late 2019 the station project is officially proceeding, and in late 2020 the preliminary station design concepts were made public. Capstan Station will be located near the northeast corner of the intersection of No. 3 Road and Capstan Way — roughly midway between Bridgeport and Aberdeen stations.

Staff with the City of Richmond told city council last week some of the construction work will require partial road closures of No. 3 Road and adjacent pathways.

This includes site preparation work in the first week of August 2021 necessitating the closure of the east sidewalk, northbound bike lane, and the adjacent northbound vehicle lane on No. 3 Road.

Later in August 2021 through February 2023, the east sidewalk, northbound bike lane, and adjacent No. 3 Road northbound vehicle lane will be closed during evenings and weekends.

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

More extensive disruptions to vehicle traffic can be expected further down the timeline. Both northbound vehicle lanes of No. 3 Road next to the station site will be closed from October 4 to November 8, 2021 for piling work, several days in late-February 2022 for utility work, and one day in August 2022 for the installation of escalators. Bus routes on No. 3 Road will also have to be rerouted.

Construction activities will also necessitate some scheduled service disruptions to the Canada Line, requiring single-track operations with passengers shuttled between Bridgeport and Aberdeen stations. City staff state TransLink anticipates single-track operations will begin in March 2022 and occur every second week through Summer 2022, with an effort made to conduct this disruptive work on weekends as much as possible.

The original agreement between the public transit authority and the City of Richmond stipulates Capstan Station will reach completion and begin operations within 30 months of December 2019, when the municipality transferred $28.1 million to TransLink to substantially cover the cost of construction.

But a June 2022 opening of Capstan Station is no longer possible, and instead the completion has been pushed nine months to March 2023 due to a conflict with the construction schedule of the parkade in the adjacent Concord Pacific development to the east, resulting in a three month delay. This is in addition to a six-month delay from changes in the internal processes of InTransitBC, the subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin that operates and maintains the Canada Line.

TransLink is making an effort to mitigate these delays and ensure that the completion date is not further delayed.

The municipal government is providing TransLink with the use of a city-owned lot north of the station site for construction staging uses. After the station reaches completion, the city will proceed with work to complete a public park on the staging site.

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

City staff have also noted that another $3 million was transferred to TransLink in January 2021 to cover the municipal government’s contribution for an enhanced station design that includes both up and down escalators, and longer platforms reaching 52.5 metres to accommodate future three-car trains on the Canada Line. Most existing Canada Line stations are built with 40-metre platforms, with the ability to expand to 50 metres. Only a handful of stations are already built to the 50-metre standard.

Overall, Capstan Station will be a significant aesthetic, accessibility, and functional improvement over the Canada Line’s original stations. The station configuration and layout has been improved for optimal passenger flow compared to other stations, and there will be a commercial retail unit next to the large ticketing concourse. Through an agreement, public washrooms will be made available in the adjacent future Concord Pacific mixed-use building, about a one-minute walk from the station entrance.

The city initiated the Capstan Station project by transferring $1.1 million to TransLink in 2017 to begin design work. The station’s design firm is Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects.

Since 2012, the city has been collecting a development levy from each of the thousands of condominium units built in the area around station site. Buoyed by the region’s strong condominium market until around 2016/2017, the city achieved its fundraising goal to cover station construction costs well in advance, as it originally had a 15-year timeline for fundraising and constructing the station, with completion by 2027.

Upon full completion, the new transit-oriented Capstan Village neighbourhood is expected to have over 6,000 homes with up to 16,000 residents, nearly all within an eight-minute walking distance from the station. The area’s major developers include Concord Pacific, Polygon, Pinnacle International, and Yuangheng.

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

capstan station canada line skytrain

Artistic rendering of Capstan Station. (Office of McFarlane Biggar Architects & Designers/TransLink)

Capstan Station is one of four potential “future station” locations along the Canada Line, where the track is strategically designed to allow for an additional station. Other future station locations include 33rd Avenue west of Queen Elizabeth Park and 57th Avenue next to the Pearson Dogwood and Langara Gardens redevelopments, but both of these underground station locations face far higher construction costs and engineering complexities.

A fourth future station location is on Sea Island, immediately east of the track switch where the dual track transitions into a single track towards YVR Airport Station. This future station is intended to serve a future eastward terminal building expansion of Vancouver International Airport.

Capstan Station will be the second time TransLink has built a station on an existing SkyTrain line. Lake City Way Station was completed in November 2003, nearly two years after the opening of the Millennium Line.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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