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After nearly 2 years, FortisBC’s major Metro Vancouver gas line replacement complete

FortisBC gas line work in Vancouver in 2018. Global News

Nearly two years after shovels first hit the ground, FortisBC says it has completed a major gas line upgrade.

The project, which included major work in Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam, caused traffic headaches for commuters and prompted complaints from businesses and some municipal officials.

READ MORE: FortisBC suspends gas line work on Como Lake Avenue after ‘ground movements’

The company says the new 76-centimetre (30-inch) line was brought online over the weekend, and now supplies more than 210,000 Lower Mainland customers with natural gas.

“We wanted to thank the community for its patience during construction over the past two years,” said FortisBC project director Ian Miki in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Gas line construction begins in Coquitlam despite FortisBC dispute with city' Gas line construction begins in Coquitlam despite FortisBC dispute with city
Gas line construction begins in Coquitlam despite FortisBC dispute with city – Mar 10, 2019

“This is one of the largest urban infrastructure projects we’ve ever completed and we couldn’t have done it without your patience and understanding.”

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READ MORE: Coquitlam mayor demands FortisBC cover city costs left by gas line upgrade

Over the course of construction, crews installed about 20 kilometres of line, including stretches under East 1st Avenue in Vancouver, Lougheed Highway in Burnaby and Como Lake Avenue in Coquitlam.

Fortis said the work was necessary to replace the aging, 60-year-old pipe.

Click to play video: 'Major closure of commuter route in Vancouver this summer' Major closure of commuter route in Vancouver this summer
Major closure of commuter route in Vancouver this summer – Apr 5, 2018

Construction, however, was not without controversy. Coquitlam Mayor Stewart was a vocal critic, trying at one point to refuse a work permit to the gas company — a move that was overruled by the BC Utilities Commission.

READ MORE: Commercial Drive businesses sue FortisBC over disruptions from pipeline work

Stewart has said the city’s main complaint is that the gas company left its old, 50-centimetre pipe in the ground, crowding an already heavily-used utility corridor.

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The city also complained about construction issues that were described as “sinkholes” by Stewart and “ground movements” by FortisBC.

More than a dozen businesses on Commercial Drive also launched a lawsuit against FortisBC, alleging the construction unduly harmed their bottom line and forced one business to close its doors.

FortisBC is holding a “thank you” event for the community at 10 a.m. on Sat., Dec. 21 at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex in Coquitlam.

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