With a preferred proponent selected, major construction will soon start on British Columbia’s 11-kilometer Evergreen Line rapid transit expansion project, the fourth line in the B.C. SkyTrain system.

Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin Inc. will finalize the agreement to design, build and finance the SkyTrain line to connect Burnaby, Port Moody and Coquitlam, with a construction budget of $1.4 billion. The two end points of the new Evergreen line will be Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby and Douglas College in Coquitlam.

The work includes at-grade and elevated track, a two-kilometer bored tunnel, seven rider stations, power substations, train operating systems, parking facilities and a vehicle storage and light maintenance facility.

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The project will fully integrate into the existing SkyTrain system, linking directly to the Millennium Line, with connections to SkyTrain’s Expo Line and Canada Line, the newest addition added prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics. The new Evergreen Line will also offer connections to the West Coast Express train and regional bus networks.

The B.C. Ministry of Transportation claims that the construction work will create 8,000 direct and indirect jobs. Early construction projects to lay the groundwork for the major build are already underway and once the contract is signed late fall of this year, major construction will start. The Evergreen Line should open in summer 2016, says Translink, the operator of B.C.’s SkyTrain system.

The funding model for the new link includes the provincial government dolling out the largest share at $583 million. The federal government will contribute $417 million and TransLink will add in $400 million.

The idea of linking the communities served by the Evergreen Line was first floated when the Millennium Line was constructed about a decade ago, but funding issues limited the scope of that project. The Evergreen Line plans started to take real shape in about 2006.

The SNC-Lavalin team includes Graham Building Services (a joint venture), International Bridge Technologies Inc., Jacobs Associates Canada Corporation, Rizzani de Eccher Inc., S.E.L.I. Canada Inc., SNC-Lavalin Constructors Pacific Inc., SNC-Lavalin Constructors Western Inc. and MMM Group Ltd.