Vancouver, B.C.’s TransLink SkyTrain light rail system added 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) of track this month while announcing planning will start soon on yet another addition to the system.
By opening an extension to the Evergreen Line, Metro Vancouver’s SkyTrain, operated by TransLink, claims to have taken on the title of the world’s longest fully automated and driverless rapid transit system.
The $1.4 billion project was delivered between $70 million and $85 million under the budget set in 2008 and will carry 70,000 riders per day by 2021 to reduce vehicle congestion east of Vancouver in Coquitlam, Port Moody and Burnaby. The new track separates fully from vehicle traffic and stops at seven stations with bus connections, bicycle facilities and parking. TransLink says the Evergreen line extension will connect Coquitlam City Centre through Port Moody to Lougheed Town Centre in about 15 minutes.
The overall extension project created an estimated 8,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.
"The completion of the greatly anticipated Evergreen extension has been made possible by the efforts of so many people, and seeing the trains go into service today is good news for the province of B.C.," said B.C. Premier Christy Clark in a statement. "By adding Evergreen to Metro Vancouver's SkyTrain system, we're able to provide transit riders with more travel options and get people to their destination faster."
Even as the Evergreen line opened new track, Metro Vancouver officials approved another $2 billion in transit and road improvements as part of a first phase of the 10-year vision for transit and transportation in the region. Funds include money to complete pre-construction and consultation on a Broadway subway project and a Surrey to Langley light rail project.
"Confirming Phase One funding is a major milestone in delivering on the Mayors' Council's 10-Year Vision that will keep people moving across Metro Vancouver," says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson in a statement. "Phase One of the 10-Year Vision delivers the region's biggest transit expansion in nearly a decade, kick-starting immediate and urgently needed improvements in our transit system while laying the groundwork for the Broadway Subway and Surrey-Langley LRT projects."
With efforts on the plan starting to roll out in January with an expansion of service on SeaBus, Expo Line, Millennium Line and Canada Line, the future additions of Broadway subway and light rail extensions to Langley offer the possibility of major planning and construction projects for Metro Vancouver.
Follow Tim Newcomb on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.