Broadway Subway project reaches major milestone

Officials say a second tunnel-boring machine is fully assembled and set to launch.

Broadway Subway tunnel boring

Two tunnel-boring machines are prepped for construction in Vancouver. – Province of B.C.

Key Takeaways:

  • The first tunnel-boring machine is progressing towards its first breakthrough while a second machine has been assembled and is set to launch.
  • A strike limited access to concrete, pushing the project completion date into 2026. Despite this, officials say the project remains on budget.
  • A precise update on the project timeline will be provided in the spring of 2023 when station excavation and tunnel boring are further advanced.

The Whole Story:

Work on the Broadway Subway project has reached another milestone with the imminent launch of the second tunnel-boring machine for the new rapid transit line.

The first machine launched Oct. 7 and has made significant progress toward its first breakthrough at Mount Pleasant Station, while the second machine is now fully assembled and set to launch.

The custom-designed tunnel-boring machines measure about six metres in diameter, 150 metres in length and weigh almost one million kilograms each. Named for Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill and Phyllis Munday, the machines were manufactured in Germany, shipped to Canada in spring 2022, and assembled on concrete slabs at the launch site near Great Northern Way.

A five-week strike in June affected the concrete supply in the Lower Mainland, which affected the start of tunnel boring. As a result, the overall schedule for project completion has been moved from late 2025 into early 2026. A precise update on the project timeline will be provided in the spring of 2023 when station excavation and tunnel boring are further advanced. Despite the delay, officials say the project remains within budget.

Progress continues to be made on tunnelling work; more than half of the columns for the guideway between VCC-Clark and Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station are complete. Construction and fit out of the stations and tracks will begin once tunnel boring has finished.

The Broadway Subway will extend the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to the future Broadway and Arbutus station, providing fast, convenient SkyTrain service along the Broadway corridor, home to B.C.’s second-largest jobs centre, world-class health-care services, an emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities.

The project will result in faster travel, better access and fewer cars on the road in this heavily used corridor. Once in service, the trip from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Station will take 11 minutes, saving the average transit commuter almost 30 minutes a day and relieving congestion along Broadway.

The Broadway Subway will also support new transit-oriented developments, which create efficient, livable communities and maximize the opportunities provided by the investment government is making in public transit.

It’s estimated the Broadway Subway project will create more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, supporting economic development within the region and beyond.

VIDEO: How the Broadway Subway tunnel-boring machines work


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