PoMo bridge to be closed for Thanksgiving for Evergreen work
Drivers heading through Port Moody can expect to see Evergreen Line construction ramping up this summer and ratcheting up in the fall, with a weekend-long closure of the Ioco Road/Barnet Highway intersection.
Evergreen's executive project director Amanda Farrell was at PoMo's council meeting Tuesday to offer an update on construction progress to date and what the city can expect to see over the coming months.
"At this point with EGRT Construction we're six months into the contract and we're progressing very quickly," Farrell said of the timeline.
With much of the pre-construction nearly complete, Farrell said building of the stations and guideway will get underway in July.
Commuters using the Barnet Highway at PoMo's west end are well aware that work on the tunnel's north portal started early this year.
Crews shifted lanes and access points near Seaview and East Hill in order to build the transition tunnel underneath the Barnet. That work is expected to wrap up over the next few months, with northbound lanes set to move back to their original position in August.
The southbound lanes should be back to their regular layout sometime in September or October.
Come December, the massive tunnel boring machine will be delivered to the site for assembly.
"We will expect to see the start of tunnel boring in February of 2014," Farrell said, adding it will go on for about a year.
As for what will happen to all the material that comes out of the tunnel, Farrell said EGRT Construction has issued a request for proposals and should have a plan for how the material will be trucked out in the next month or so.
Pre-construction work for the Moody Centre Station kicked off in late May with changes to the West Coast Express parking lot, as well as access and exit points, to make way for the station.
Once it's finished the station will sit between Moody and William streets and offer access to both the Evergreen Line and WCE.
There will also be an expanded bus exchange centre with improved bus connections and bike storage facilities.
"We're also working with the public art committee to integrate public art there," Farrell said.
Recent tree removals sparked concern among residents living near the line, but Farrell said a certified arborist is tracking all tree removals. Replacements will be planted on a one-to-one basis, though trees removed from railway lands are not included in the replacement program.
Farrell said they've asked EGRT to speed up the landscape plans and drawings so the public can comment on them "earlier than would normally be the case" for this type of project.
City input will be sought for trees that can't be replanted in the same location, she added.
Construction of the Inlet Centre Station at Ioco and Barnet promises to be tricky for both work crews and drivers, who will have to find an alternate route when the bridge is completely closed for the Thanksgiving Day long weekend in October.
An artist's rendering shows two entrances to the Inlet Centre Station, allowing passengers to access it from either side and then head down to a lower-level platform.
"The station design is responsive to the community's desire to not have an elevated station," Farrell said. "It's the most complex station on the alignment and I think it will be fantastic when finished."
Building the platform under the road represents "a big huge piece of engineering that's not commonplace for this area," said PoMo's senior project manager James Chandler. "It's quite a unique and exciting project."
That's because the way to get a station platform underneath an existing major intersection — there's no room for lane relocations needed for cut-and-cover construction — is by "tunnel jacking."
Crews will be working non-stop over the three-day weekend to shove the concrete tunnel box — all 35 metres and 4,000 tonnes of it — from the east entrance and "pushing and jacking" it into place.
"The road will be cut and opened up by multiple excavators as the tunnel is pushed through," Chandler said, "then back-filled in...resurface the road and it's through in three days."
But there's plenty of work to be done before that feat of engineering, he added, mainly in moving the city utilities running through the area.
Chandler said from a traffic management perspective, a long holiday weekend was deemed the least disruptive.
One lane will remain open for emergency vehicle use only, and staff at Eagle Ridge Hospital and in Coquitlam have also been alerted to the future traffic disruptions and detours.
Just half a year into construction of the $14-billion line running from Burnaby's Lougheed Town Centre Station to Coquitlam's Douglas College Station, Farrell said work is on track and on schedule.
Once the tunnel boring is complete in early 2015 crews will be installing the tracks and systems to run the trains and, should all go according to plan, "We're on track to open for the summer of 2016," Farrell said.