It’s full steam ahead on the construction of the Broadway subway line in Vancouver.
The six-stop extension going from Commercial station mostly along Broadway to Arbutus Street is set to be completed in 2025.
The Broadway project is currently projected to cost $2.8 billion.
The work being done now is to build the station decks at the six locations before starting the tunneling preparation in the fall and boring in mid-2022.
The biggest worry from the province is traffic disruptions, something they optimistically hope can be kept to a minimum.
“We have done very extensive consultations with businesses along the Broadway route and there will be disruptions but Broadway will be open to traffic the entire time. That will be the difference than with previous projects,” transportation minister Rob Fleming said.
“This is also going to produce significant traffic for the businesses along Broadway.”
There were serious traffic delays, and complaints, linked to the construction of the Canada Line along the Cambie corridor.
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When the construction team starts building the passenger deck at Broadway-City Hall three lanes on the north side of Broadway will remain open during drilling on the south side.
The construction team will then flip to the other side for drilling and keep the south side open.
The sidewalk on the north side of Broadway will stay open except by the station entrances. There will be detour areas and signs in those places.
The stations include Great Northern Way-Emily Carr, Mount Pleasant, Broadway-City Hall, Oak-VH, South Granville and Arbutus.
Construction also starts at a time when TransLink is recovering from a massive drop-off in ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fleming is watching closely to see if trends like working from home continue past the pandemic and impact passenger forecasts for the new line.
“We are mindful that ridership did sustain deep loses during the pandemic,” Fleming said.
“We have to be patient about it. It is a concern. We are optimistic because a bulk of the ridership is linked to university and colleges. What is great about the Broadway subway line is it creates jobs immediately.”