Major B.C. projects reach milestones but face delays

Officials offered updates on the Broadway Subway and Pattullo Bridge replacement.

Key Takeaways:

  • Crews have completed work on the new Pattullo bridge’s main tower and tunnel boring operations have wrapped up for the Broadway Subway project.
  • The province also announced each project’s completion has been pushed back a year.
  • They attributed these delays to inflationary pressures, global supply chain issues and a five-week concrete strike.

The Whole Story:

Two major B.C. projects, the Broadway Subway and the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project,  have reached significant milestones this month.

Despite the milestones, both projects also have had their completion dates pushed back. 

Officials announced that Tunnel boring operations have finished, marking the completion of the most technically complex and challenging part of the new subway construction.

Meanwhile, construction of the main tower for the new bridge to replace the existing Pattullo, connecting Surrey and New Westminster, is complete. It is the tallest bridge tower in British Columbia.

“Despite facing significant global challenges, we’ve seen tremendous progress on both of these projects,” said Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure. “These projects will move people and goods more quickly and safely around the Lower Mainland.”

The Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project started at the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020. The province noted that it has faced significant challenges, including inflationary pressures and global supply issues related to the delivery of specialized components from around the world. In addition, the bridge tower construction took longer than expected. As a result, the new bridge is expected to open in fall 2025.

Work started on the bridge in 2020. About a year into construction, the opening of the bridge was delayed from 2023 to 2024. At the time, the government attributed delays to on-site investigative work, and permitting hold-ups due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Crews work to disassemble a tunnel boring machine at the Broadway Subway project site. – BC Ministry of Transportation

The new bridge will provide people with better connections and modern, wider lanes separated by a centre median barrier and dedicated walking and cycling lanes. Once complete, the bridge will provide a safer commute for people driving, cycling, or walking, and a more efficient connection for goods movement between Canada and the United States.

Design and construction activities on the Broadway Subway Project, which also began during the pandemic in September 2020, have taken longer than originally expected, including work to relocate major utilities and install traffic decks, while keeping traffic moving along Broadway. Tunnelling, which included boring under the Canada Line, and station excavation also took longer. This was in part due to a five-week concrete strike in 2022 that delayed construction of the launch pad for the tunnel-boring machines. Despite making significant progress so far, the new line is expected to go into service in fall 2027.

Construction first started on the subway extension in 2020, when the B.C. government projected  the line would be opeartional after five years. In 2022, the government said the project opening had been delayed until 2026 by a five-week concrete workers’ strike.

“On projects of this size, delays have the potential to affect other construction activities,” said officials. “While mitigation efforts were made to recover both project schedules, it wasn’t always possible.”


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