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First tunnel-boring machine arrives at Broadway City Hall

April 14, 2023 at 5:05 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Elsie, one of two tunnel-boring machines constructing twin tunnels for the Broadway Subway, broke through to the future Broadway-City Hall Station on the afternoon of Friday, April 14, 2023, reaching what will be the busiest and largest station on the Millennium Line SkyTrain extension.

The Broadway Subway Project will extend the Millennium Line 5.7 kilometres from VCC-Clark Station to West Broadway and Arbutus Street, providing people with fast, convenient SkyTrain service along the Broadway corridor. The corridor is home to B.C.’s second-largest jobs centre, world-class health-care services, an emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities.

The project will result in faster travel, better access and fewer cars on the road in the heavily used corridor. Once in service, the trip from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Station will take 11 minutes, saving the average transit commuter almost 30 minutes a day and relieving congestion along Broadway.

The new Broadway-City Hall Station will provide a convenient underground connection for people to transfer between the north-south Canada Line and the east-west Millennium Line. It will feature added capacity, including a second elevator and extra escalators, to comfortably handle higher passenger volumes.

Broadway-City Hall Station will be the deepest station constructed for the Broadway Subway Project at more than 20 metres underground, allowing the new tunnels to travel underneath the existing Canada Line.

Elsie, the tunnel-boring machine named after B.C.-born aircraft designer Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill, arrived at Mount Pleasant Station in late January 2023 and began tunnelling toward the future Broadway-City Hall Station on March 4.

Elsie will undergo scheduled maintenance on her cutterhead after excavating more than 1,300 metres of tunnel and installing more than 900 concrete tunnel liner rings. She will then be relocated to the west side of the station to continue tunnelling. Her next stop will be at the future Oak-VGH Station, passing the halfway point in tunnelling toward the future Arbutus Station terminus.

The second tunnel-boring machine, named after Phyllis Munday, a nurse and mountaineer who founded the Girl Guides in British Columbia, will relaunch from Mount Pleasant Station next week. Phyllis is expected to breakthrough at Broadway-City Hall this spring.

The new line is being tunnelled underground with traffic decks and special pedestrian bridges installed in the station blocks, ensuring Broadway is kept open and access is maintained to businesses, health services and residences throughout construction. While people travel above, work on the five stations along Broadway continues below ground.

The Broadway Subway Project will support new transit-oriented developments, which create efficient, connected communities where people can easily access public transit and have their day-to-day needs conveniently located close to home.

It is estimated the project will also create more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, supporting economic development within the region and beyond.  

Learn More: 

Video of Elsie’s arrival at Mount Pleasant can be found here: 

Photos of the tunnel boring machines and general construction images can be found here:

For general information about the Broadway Subway Project, visit:

Job opportunities for the Broadway Subway Project:

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