"This milestone is another exciting step towards delivering world-class transit infrastructure to the Lower Mainland," said James Moore, Minister Responsible for British Columbia and Member of Parliament for Port Moody – Westwood - Port Coquitlam. "Our government is committed to projects like the Evergreen Line that not only create jobs, but shorten commutes, reduce pollution and make our communities more accessible to visitors and residents alike."
The TBM will build the two-kilometer (1.2-mile) tunnel that will run west of Barnet Highway in Port Moody to south of Kemsley Avenue in Coquitlam. Bored tunnel construction means there is no disruption to the surface above except at the tunnel entry and exit points.
"TransLink is very excited to see construction of the Evergreen Line progressing," said Ian Jarvis, TransLink's chief executive officer. "Transit use in Metro Vancouver continues to surpass yearly records. The Evergreen Line SkyTrain extension will provide a new and efficient service to improve community connections and meet the transportation needs of our growing region."
Due to its size and weight, the TBM is being shipped from Ontario in pieces and will be assembled at a specially built launch site on the west side of the Barnet Highway in Port Moody. Assembly will take a couple of months, with tunnel construction expected to start in February 2014. The entire TBM is 85 meters (.052 miles) long and 10 meters (.006 miles) in diameter. The first piece of the machine, called the cutter head, weighs 130 tons alone.
The cutter head rotates to break up the ground and a conveyor system moves the spoils to the back of the machine for disposal. The machine also inserts the concrete tunnel ring sections as it moves, reinforcing the structure. Moving an average of eight meters (.004 miles) a day, it will take approximately a year to build the tunnel.
Construction of the Evergreen Line will create 8,000 jobs and it is the largest transit project underway in Metro Vancouver today. Once the Evergreen Line opens in summer 2016, Metro Vancouver's SkyTrain system will become the longest rapid transit system in Canada.
The Evergreen Line will link Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam and be fully integrated into the existing system, connecting directly onto the Millennium Line at Lougheed Town Centre Station. It will carry 70,000 passengers and remove 40,000 cars off the road everyday by 2021.