Construction on Evergreen Line Amping Up

Coquitlam residents should steel themselves for construction noise and traffic headaches. The $1.4-billion Evergreen Line rapid transit project will be ramping up next year and make a greater impact on local roads and residents. “We’re constantly trying to balance traffic with night work and noise, but you can’t build a major project like this without inconveniencing and disrupting people,” said Amanda Farrell, executive project director of the Evergreen Line. “We will have another year of challenge. But by this time next year a lot of the major civil work will be behind us.” The line’s seven stations and 11 kilometres of rail will link Coquitlam to the Millennium Line. The Evergreen Line is to open in the summer of 2016. This week marks a new phase: preparation for boring a two-kilometre tunnel in Port Moody. The first piece of the $20-million boring machine was lowered into the north tunnel launching area early Tuesday. After assembly, it will begin carving a tunnel 10 metres in diameter 50 metres underground. That work is expected to begin in February. Raymond Louie, the Evergreen Line’s technical director, said construction of the tunnel marks one of the trickiest parts of the project. “The tunnel is certainly very — I don’t want to say risky — but probably the most technically challenging section,” said Louie, a civil engineer who also worked on the Millennium Line and Canada Line. Contractors EGRT Construction completed a similarly complicated part last month, when crews used hydraulic jacks to put a 4,000-ton concrete frame for Inlet Centre Station under Barnet Highway. It was the first time that technique had been used in B.C., Farrell said, and it helped limit noise and disruption. The first overhead SkyTrain track guideway column was erected in August and work continues south on North Road, and near Lougheed Town Centre Station, and in Port Moody. Construction on stations is also set to ramp up in 2014. And piling will begin in Port Moody. Farrell assured taxpayers that, “as of today we are extremely confident that we will make both our schedule and our budget,” noting most cost overruns are borne by the contractor under a fixed-price $889-million contract. The Evergreen Line — planned as part of the Millennium Line but scrapped as costs rose — has been a long time coming. Once completed, it is expected to move 70,000 passengers per day and take 40,000 cars off the roads per day by 2021. “I think it will have an enormous impact on people’s lives,” Farrell said. “You can see today the transit-oriented development happening ... These are very livable communities ... and I think you’ll see more of that along the line.” To check on construction call the Evergreen traffic line at (604) 927-2080 or check @TranBC.

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