First contracts for Evergreen

Putting a final nail in the Evergreen Line skeptic's coffin, officials announced in Port Moody Wednesday morning the first pre-construction contract awards for the long-awaited SkyTrain line to the Tri-Cities.

Contracts were awarded to Surrey-based Hans Demolition and Excavating and to Pedre Contractors Ltd., which is located in Langley.

Hans will receive $99,465 to demolish three vacant residential buildings — at 635 and 639 Clarke Rd. in Coquitlam and 2889 North Rd. in Burnaby.

Pedre's contract, valued at about $2.2 million, will be to install underground power lines in Port Moody and Coquitlam. The lines will provide power to build the bored tunnel and supply power for the operation of the Evergreen Line.

Pedre vice president Steve Anderson said they'll likely start work in the second week of February at North Road and Como Lake Avenue.

"Today represents a major step toward this ambitious project to expand and improve public transit here in Metro Vancouver," said the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. "Public transit is a very clear priority for all of us and our government is proud to partner with British Columbia, TransLink and all the municipalities here today to improve these vital links that Canadians rely upon every day."

Port Moody-Westwood MP James Moore, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, described the Evergreen Line as the "next step in the great rail legacy in the Tri-Cities," noting the $1.4-billion project makes the SkyTrain line the largest transportation infrastructure project in this area's history.

The announcement means shovels will soon be in the ground to prepare for Evergreen construction — meaning motorists should prepare for some commuting headaches.

Local mayors, however, were quick to downplay the possibility that the Tri-Cities will encounter the same kind of crippling effect as Canada Line construction down Cambie Street in Vancouver.

"Coquitlam has waited 20 years for this SkyTrain line and we're really excited about it," said Mayor Richard Stewart. "Nonetheless we have an engineering team at city hall working to minimize those disruptions.

"A good portion of the line will be well away from a main road or on private property.... So we don't anticipate the same kinds of issues. But we certainly are paying close attention to what happened with the Canada Line and we're making sure our community is well served both during and after construction."

Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay added work will be scheduled outside of peak rush hours to minimize construction-related congestion.

Pre-construction activities also expected to begin soon include road widening, relocating utilities, realigning railway tracks and removing vacant buildings.

B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Blair Lekstrom said the Evergreen Line was always going to happen, despite challenges in funding the project.

"It was always a reality without question, but there's always a challenge when you're talking about a project that's over a billion dollars; there's a lot of work going into that.

"And it's not just about the project, it's about ensuring the quality of the project, how the project is delivered, what kind of jobs are created and where those jobs are created, and it's about making sure we get the best value for the taxpayers."

A representative from Hans Demolition said about four people will be handling the demolition projects while Pedre expects to employ about 25 for the power line relocations.

Funding for the Evergreen Line comes from $583 million from the province, up to $417 million from Ottawa and $400 million from TransLink.

Completion is slated for the summer of 2016.














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