Revised shortlist for Vancouver Broadway Subway 01 Aug 2019

Karen Martin, TunnelTalk

Proposals to design, build and finance the most significant upcoming transportation infrastructure project in Vancouver are down from three teams to two, as SNC-Lavalin withdraws its bid to build the CA$2.8 billion SkyTrain Broadway Extension.

Earlier in 2019, SNC-Lavalin, and in partnership with Strabag in the early stages, was one of three pre-qualified teams invited by the Government of British Columbia to participate in the request for Broadway Subway project proposals along with the Acciona-Ghella Joint Venture and the Broadway Connect group led by Dragados and Aecon.

The Broadway Subway is an extension of the SkyTrain Millennium Line
The Broadway Subway is an extension of the SkyTrain Millennium Line

A spokesperson for The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for Government of British Columbia announced: “The Ministry is aware that SNC-Lavalin has announced a shift in its corporate strategy and will be withdrawing from all fixed price projects globally. We can confirm that SNC-Lavalin has withdrawn from the procurement process for the Broadway Subway project.”

Broadway Subway project is a scheme to extend the existing elevated SkyTrain rapid transit system to serve one of the most congested transit corridors in the city. The project includes the design, construction, and partial financing of a 5.7km extension to the Millennium Line with six underground stations below the Broadway Corridor to a new terminus at Arbutus Street and an underground connection to the city’s Canada Line at Cambie Street (Fig 1).

Open cut on the Canada Line caused severe disruption
Open cut on the Canada Line caused severe disruption
Proposed extension of Broadway Subway to the University
Proposed extension of Broadway Subway to the University

The partners of the two remaining bidders comprise:

Acciona-Ghella Joint Venture:

  • Acciona Infrastructure Canada
  • Ghella Canada
  • IBI Professional Services (Canada)
  • With designers:
  • DIALOG BC Architecture Engineering Interior Design Planning
  • Mott MacDonald Canada
  • Ingenieria Especializada de Obra Civil e Industrial
  • Parsons
  • Corporacion Acciona Infraestructuras

Broadway Connect:

  • Dragados Canada
  • Aecon Infrastructure Management
  • ACS Infrastructure Canada
  • Aecon Concessions, a division of Aecon Construction Group
  • Dragados, Spain
  • Aecon Group
  • With designers:
  • Hatch
  • WSP Canada
  • Dr G Sauer & Partners
  • VIA Architecture
  • Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, a Division of Wood Canada

The preferred contractor is expected to be selected by mid-2020, with construction anticipated to begin in late 2020 and for the line to be opened in 2025.

Construction of the Canada Line between 2005 and 2008 resulted in a costly lawsuit ruling against TransLink, the transportation network of Metro Vancouver. A 7km long section of the line along Cambie Street, converted from an original bored tunnel plan to a less expensive cut-and-cover method, including four open cut stations, caused major disruption to local businesses. A court ruling in September 2018 awarded damages of CA$128,000, CA$44,560 and CA$7,600 to the owners of a local theatre, a village restaurant and a general store, respectively, for lost value of the business properties. Mayor of Vancouver at the time, Gregor Robertson, committed to supporting bored tunnelling for the upcoming Broadway extension. In his ruling ordering TransLink to pay the damages, Justice Christopher Grauer wrote: “The ruling is seen as an important precedent for selecting bored tunnel construction over open cut works and for resolving the remaining claims by Cambie Village business owners.”

The Millennium Line Broadway Extension was prioritised in the 10-year vision for regional transportation by the council of regional city mayors. It is the number one transportation priority in Vancouver, and one of the most significant infrastructure investments for the future of the region.

Future transit plans to serve areas of urban growth
Future transit plans to serve areas of urban growth

Phase one of the 10-year vision focused on reducing overcrowding on transit and congestion on major roads. Phase two, which includes construction of the Broadway Subway, centres on further expansion and improvement of the wider transportation network of Metro Vancouver.

The Broadway Corridor in Vancouver is an important economic, healthcare, and residential centre for Metro Vancouver and British Columbia, linking significant regional destinations. It is also the busiest bus route in Canada and the USA with more than 100,000 journeys made each day. The new subway will integrate with the regional bus network and eliminate overcrowding and long queues at Commercial-Broadway Station, the busiest transit station in the region.

Once in service, the Broadway Subway will be able to transport 5,100 more passengers per hour, per direction than the existing B-Line bus service it will replace, increasing capacity by 250%. It will also be built to accommodate additional future capacity increases. On the new subway, the journey from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Station will take 11 minutes, saving the average commuter almost 30 minutes a day, and will relieve congestion and air pollution along Broadway.

Construction of the Broadway Subway project is budgeted at CA$2.83 billion. The funding breakdown is: CA$1.82 billion from Government of British Columbia; CA$888.4 million from Government of Canada; and CA$99.8 million in-kind contribution from City of Vancouver. An additional CA$17 million went towards the full project cost under phase one of the 10-year vision plan.

Other new rapid transit projects in the 10-year vision include:

  • Construction and operation of the Surrey-Newton-Guildford Line light rail transit
  • Project development and potential early works for the Surrey-Langley Line light rail transit
  • Planning for a potential gondola from the Millennium Line to Simon Fraser University Burnaby campus
  • Planning for a potential rapid transit to University of British Columbia Point Grey campus.

While the first three projects involve no underground works, TransLink is studying an extension underground of the Millennium Line from Arbutus to University of British Columbia. The University is engaging the community, regional partners and senior levels of government to determine the best way to accelerate and fund this second phase. The project would provide enough capacity to meet demand beyond 2045 and would be expandable to meet the longer-term transportation needs of the region.

The city is working also with TransLink to develop its new Transport 2050 regional transportation strategy, a blueprint for the region that will set out the vision, goals, strategies and key initiatives for Metro Vancouver for the next 30 years.


Add your comment

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and comments. You share in the wider tunnelling community, so please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language professional.
In case of an error submitting Feedback, copy and send the text to
Name :

Date :

Email :

Phone No :

   Security Image Refresh
Enter the security code :
No spaces, case-sensitive