SkyTrain Burrard Station to close for two years starting in 2022 for expansion

Jul 13 2021, 11:55 am

SkyTrain Burrard Station will be closed for at least two years starting in early 2022 to allow for a major expansion and renovation of the busy transit hub.

TransLink announced today its plans to close the station to allow for the construction work to be performed safely and more efficiently than were it to remain partially open.

This work will double the number of escalators and elevators to provide greater accessibility and reduce overcrowding on the underground concourse level and platforms.

The station’s existing three escalators from the outdoor ticketing concourse to the underground concourse and platform levels are highly constrained in capacity. At any given time, there is just one escalator for one of the directions, and congestion becomes a safety issue when an escalator is closed for maintenance.

The existing staircase and escalator from Burrard Street at street level to the outdoor ticketing concourse near Melville Street will be relocated to a new entrance portal — complete with new escalators, elevators, and a staircase — near the Dunsmuir Street side of the station block.

This alignment with the pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Burrard Street and Dunsmuir Street will make it easier to get in and out of the station, and provide better access to buses.

skytrain burrard station upgrade

Artistic rendering of the expansion and renovation of SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

skytrain burrard station upgrade

Artistic rendering of the expansion and renovation of SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

skytrain burrard station upgrade

Artistic rendering of the expansion and renovation of SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

The footprint of the existing escalator and staircase from street level will become the site for new escalators to the underground concourse, while there will become an expanded part of a new and improved street plaza.

Additionally, electrical and mechanical systems to the station will be upgraded.

Existing condition of Burrard Station:

skytrain burrard station aerial

Aerial of the existing condition of Burrard Station. (Google Maps)

Future condition of Burrard Station:

skytrain burrard station upgrade

Artistic rendering of the expansion and renovation of SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

skytrain burrard station upgrade

Artistic rendering of the expansion and renovation of SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

The entire project is expected to cost $72 million. If the station were to remain partially open during construction, the cost of construction would rise by $35 million to $107 million. The upgrade is funded by the provincial and federal governments, and the public transit authority.

Burrard Station is TransLink’s fourth busiest SkyTrain station, with over 7.6 million annual boardings and an average of over 25,000 weekday boardings in 2019.

Previous TransLink reports stated a capacity upgrade is necessary to meet the Expo Line’s eventual train-carrying system capacity of 25,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd) — up from over 15,000 (pphpd) currently — and from the use of longer trains that provide greater peak surges in circulation volumes through the station.

skytrain burrard station upgrade

Artistic rendering of the expansion and renovation of SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

skytrain burrard station upgrade

Artistic rendering of the expansion and renovation of SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

skytrain burrard station

Artistic rendering of the new SkyTrain Burrard Station street entrance from Burrard Street on the north side. (TransLink)

This is Burrard Station’s first major upgrade since it was built 36 years ago in 1985.

“These significant upgrades are necessary to keep our transit system operating effectively and efficiently for our customers,” said TransLink Interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo in a statement today.

“These upgrades will greatly improve the customer experience and as the region prepares to welcome one million new residents by the year 2050, this important project allows us to be prepared for additional future demand.”

TransLink states it anticipates the nearby Waterfront and Granville stations will be able to accommodate the additional passenger flows during the closure of Burrard Station. Bus services will remain largely the same during construction, although some additional bus service will be added to minimize the impact, and HandyDART riders will be able to connect to the Expo Line from Waterfront Station.

skytrain burrard station

Dunsmuir Street perspective: Before and after changes to SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

skytrain burrard station

Burrard Street perspective: Before and after changes to SkyTrain Burrard Station. (TransLink)

Over the years, the public transit authority explored several concepts for increasing Burrard Station’s capacity, specifically a new secondary street entrance from the southeast corner of the intersection of Burrard Street and Dunsmuir Street, right outside of the Park Place office tower.

TransLink considered two escalators — one up, one down — for the secondary street entrance option, but this was dismissed as an option over forecasts that it would reach capacity within years of opening. An elevator-only secondary entrance with a bank of six elevators and a new underground pathway was then explored, but in late 2018 this option was dismissed as its cost was higher than the available budget of approximately $75 million.

Subsequently, planning work on the Burrard Station capacity upgrades focused on improving the existing west entrance, leading to the current project requiring temporary station closures.

Existing street entrance into SkyTrain Burrard Station. (GoToVan/Flickr)

skytrain burrard station

The existing bank of three main escalators into SkyTrain Burrard Station from the ticketing concourse to the underground mezzanine level. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

skytrain burrard station

The existing bank of three main escalators into SkyTrain Burrard Station from the ticketing concourse to the underground mezzanine level. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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