A massive piece of machinery that has spent the last two years slowly digging its way beneath Port Moody and Coquitlam has re-emerged above ground.
Today (November 27), the tunnel-boring machine, named Alice, completed a two-kilometre stretch of the Evergreen Line.
The rapid-transit project will connect Coquitlam city centre to the Millennium Line in Burnaby.
Independent journalist Bob Mackin was on the scene south of Kemsley Avenue and Clark Road this morning to capture the milestone.
On November 26, the Georgia Straight published an in-depth report by Mackin that looked at looked at construction setbacks. It predicted the line’s opening would be delayed until 2017.
“In the 1980s, Tri-Cities residents were promised future rapid transit, and it’s looking like they could actually be waiting until 2017 for their first ride,” he wrote. “The 11-kilometre line has encountered a cascade of problems, and the outcome could have ripple effects on Vancouver’s proposed Broadway subway.”
Today (November 27), the province confirmed commuters would have to wait longer than expected for their first ride on the Evergreen Line.
“The tunnel interior work and systems installation will continue into summer 2016,” reads a media release. “Train testing is expected to begin in the tunnel in the fall of 2016 with the line operational in early 2017.”
The Evergreen Line was originally scheduled to begin ferrying passengers in late 2014. That was subsequently pushed back to the summer of 2016.
B.C. Transport Minister Todd Stone was quoted in the release noting the project’s “size and complexity”.
“Celebrating the completion of the tunnel boring work today is a great milestone for the project and for the communities this line will serve,” he said. “The Evergreen Line project is more than 75% complete, and the work to finish the line, including the tunnel, is well underway. Once Evergreen is complete, B.C. will have the longest, fully automated rapid transit network in the world.”