The opening of the 11-kilometre SkyTrain Evergreen Line serving Port Moody and Coquitlam will be delayed until the fall of 2016.
Due to slower than anticipated progress with boring the two kilometre long tunnel, trains will not run on this Millennium Line extension in time for the original scheduled opening date on July 29, 2016.
The pace of tunnel construction has been considerably slower than anticipated due to poor soil conditions as the route runs through loose glacial till. These conditions also caused small ground level sinkholes to form at the locations where the tunnel boring machine stopped for maintenance.
Tunnel builders were to build about eight metres of tunnel per day, with the 10-metre diameter tunnel boring machine breaking through the south tunnel portal at Clarke Road near Morrison Avenue in less than a year.
Unlike the Canada Line’s dual tunnel system, the Evergreen Line’s tunnel will only require one single tunnel boring pass as the tunnel will be wide enough to fit both the outbound and inbound tracks.
Construction on the tunnel began in February 2014 at the north tunnel portal located near Barnett Highway and Clark Road. To date, only about 33 per cent of the tunnel has been built while the overall SkyTrain extension project is more than half complete.
Construction at all seven stations is well underway, the elevated guideway on North Road and Clarke Road is finished, and the elevated guideway on Pinetree Way will be complete this spring.
The $1.4-billion construction project is being managed by the provincial government’s Ministry of Transportation and its private contractors. In a released statement on Friday afternoon, the Evergreen Line Project Office says the project is still on budget and the contractors bear full responsibility for construction cost overruns.
TransLink is not responsible for the construction phase of the project, but it will maintain and operate the line once it is open for revenue service.
Complex, major infrastructure projects are always at great risk of running behind schedule. This was also the situation for the Millennium Line, which opened in several phases from 2002 to 2006, and the recently completed $820-million Seymour-Capilano Water Filtration Project – a pair of colossal seven kilometre long tunnels deep under Grouse Mountain. With years of construction delays, litigation and the hiring of a new contractor, the cost of the water filtration tunnelling work went $170-million over the original budget.
But delays were not the case with the $2-billion Canada Line. In 2009, the “RAV Line” opened on August 17 – well ahead of its original schedule of a mid-November completion.
Feature Image: Vancity Buzz