Evergreen Line building begins in Port Moody

Evergreen Line construction is expected to start this month at the north portal of the tunnel in Port Moody. - Evergreen Line Project Office
Evergreen Line construction is expected to start this month at the north portal of the tunnel in Port Moody.
— image credit: Evergreen Line Project Office

After months of preparatory work, construction is set to begin on the $1.4 billion Burnaby to Coquitlam Evergreen Line this month and the executive project director says it will start in Port Moody.

Amanda Farrell said excavation work will begin in the area of the north portal, east of the Barnett Highway in PoMo, to accommodate a tunnel boring machine which has been ordered and will take a year to build.

The remaining details, such as when and where along the route the guideway foundations will be laid and when the stations will be built, will be spelled out when the contractor EGRT Construction, which is made up of SNC Lavalin plus eight partners or subsidiaries, has refined its detailed construction schedule. "There will be ample notice of what's about to happen," Farrell promised, adding that communicating with business, commuters and residents will be a top priority and a job that the province is retaining for itself.

While EGRT will be responsible for sending out alerts, the province is taking the lead in communications throughout the length of the construction project, she said, and some early work has already been done.

For example, three business liaison committees have already been established in areas where construction will run alongside commercial cores. There is one for Coquitlam/Burnaby, another for Port Moody and yet another for the Coquitlam/Pinetree area, all were established in the lead-up to construction and will be ramped up again as work rolls out along the line, she said.

"We've done a lot of early work and have tried to build strong relationships with the businesses and we want to maintain that."

Residents in areas where tunnel drilling will take place will also be contacted when work is about to begin and every effort will be made to reduce noise, Farrell said, "we'll be talking to those communities right away," she pledged. However, the only disruption is expected at the tunnel entry (south of Kelsey Avenue) and the exit point, near Short Street in PoMo.

Residences, businesses and traffic above the tunnel will not be impacted by the construction below, according to Evergreen Line design guidelines.

"What we plan to do is just roll out a higher level description. You can expect to see [information about] guideway foundations in this quarter, and station-building starting in this season… we think that will help people picture when and where they are going to see some work."

With a design-build contract, many aspects of the work will take place at the same time, integrated with municipal work, and while some of the details have to be nailed down, what is already well underway is planning for the tunnel which runs approximately 2 km in from under Clark Road to Mt. Royal Drive, and then northeast under the Seaview neighborhood to the exit.

It will be constructed with a specially-built earth balance pressure tunnel boring machine, a type that is typically used for soft ground or soil conditions.

Farrell said the machine will tunnel south up through Clark hill, and more information will be made available closer to the date of construction.

With work about to start and a major milestone reached with the signing of documents awarding  the $889-million contract to design, build and finance the Evergreen Line extension to the EGRT consortium, Farrell expressed confidence in SNC Lavelin to do the work.

SNC has been under a cloud following concerns about its dealings in foreign countries, but Farrell said it has a strong track record. "They have clearly met the requirements of financial requirements that we had and we knew a lot of the partners involved," she said, noting that the company successfully completed two other notable projects — the Canada Line and the Okanagan Lake Bridge in Kelowna.


Evergreen Line alignment



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