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Canada Line

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New Canada Line Skytrain Cars
The Canada Line project, formerly referred to as the RAV Line, is a partnership between the public and private sectors to construct 11.8 miles (19 km) of a new automated light metro system between downtown Vancouver, out to the Vancouver Airport and to Richmond. The new light metro system is an expansion of the existing Skytrain line and is estimated to cost $2 billion.[1] The Canada Line opened its doors to commuters on August 17, 2009[2].  This multi-phase project is just one of many provincial infrastructure projects undertaken for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games and involves the construction of an elevated guideway, 16 metro stations located above and below ground, two bridges, park and ride facilities, and extensive tunneling using the cut-and-cover tunnel method and tunnel boring machines.

Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. (CLCO) is implementing the Canada Line. CLCO exists as a subsidiary of Translink and represents public agencies comprising the Government of Canada, the Province of British Columbia, the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (Translink), the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Airport Authority. InTransitBC, a private company that includes professionals from SNC-Lavalin and chosen through a rigorous and competitive proposal process, will cap public agency financing, oversee construction, and operate and maintain the Canada Line for the next 35 years.[3]

The Canada Line has the same capacity as a 10-lane roadway[4] and can transport about 100,000 commuters per day, equaling about 31 million passengers per year by 2010, with that number expected to increase to around 45 million passengers a year by 2021.[5]

Contents

[edit] Construction History

A rail connection running between Vancouver, Vancouver Airport and Richmond has been an ongoing public dialogue since the 1970s and has been the subject of numerous studies.[6] The corridor is now one of the busiest commuter routes in the Greater Vancouver area, accounting for one-third of the region’s jobs and 20 percent of its population.[7] Population growth in the region is expected to place an ever-increasing burden on existing transportation infrastructure.

[edit] Utility Relocation

Construction initially began back in late September 2005. The first step was to conduct utility and road relocation. This involved relocating underground water, sewer mains, electrical cables, and other underground wires that were located in the path of construction.[8]

[edit] Tunneling on Cambie

In late 2005, staged cut-and-cover tunneling construction began downtown along Granville Street north of Pender to Hastings Street and then from 2nd Avenue at Cambie Street all the way to Cambie and 64th Avenue. About three quarters of the Canada Line tunnel is being constructed using a cut-and-cover tunnel method called cast-in-place.[9] This involves excavating a huge trench from the surface and building a concrete tunnel inside the trench. The trench is then backfilled and the existing ground and roadway reinstated. In the cast-in-place method, the concrete tunnel is constructed by building forms inside the trench. Concrete is then placed or cast into the forms and once the concrete has cured, the forms removed.[10] When completed, it is estimated that 4.1 million cubic feet (117,450 m3) of concrete and 28.6 million pounds (13,000,000 kg) of rebar will be used in the cut-and-cover portion of the Canada Line.[11] Shotcrete, a sprayed concrete, was also used to reinforce the sides of the tunnel.[12]

According to an article published in the Vancouver Sun in September 2007, construction crews had to redo a section of stacked tunnel along Cambie Street as a result of miscalculations that led to narrowing in parts of the tunnel by as much as 7.9 to 18 inches (20 to 46 cm). Crews discovered the miscalculation when measuring the crown of the tunnel. At the time, Steve Crombie, a spokesperson for InTransitBC, advised such miscalculations are a normal part of the process of cut-and-cover tunneling. “One of the beauties of cut-and-cover is when you run into problems you can leapfrog and go onto another piece.”[13]

[edit] Boring Under False Creek

Also in late 2005, the advancing of twin tunnels from the downtown core and then out under False Creek started using  the Earth Pressure Balance Method (EPB) a special type of tunnel boring machine (TBM) used in soft soil conditions. It was the first use of an EBP TBM within B.C.[14]

Bored tunnel construction involved lowering the TBM through a deep shaft into the ground in order to bore the tunnels. The TBM was launched to start driving the first tunnel in June 2006. Operating 24 hours a day, six days a week, the TBM finished the first pass on April 7, 2007 and was then was launched to bore the second tunnel, which was completed by March 2008.[15]

The EPB TBM was unique and used a GPS guided tracking system that was accurate within an inch (2.5 cm). Weighing 440 tons and measuring 282 feet (86 m) in length and 20 feet (6.1 m) in diameter, the TBM bored an average of 33 feet (10 m) a day. Excavated material was then removed from the tunnels up to seven or eight times a day using a conveyor system and railway cars.[16] Two options for disposing of excavated material including using it as engineered fill or cover material in other construction projects, or dumping it into the ocean. A common federally regulated practice in the West Coast construction industry, all material had to be thoroughly tested for contaminants before being dumped.[17] The twin tunnels were then lined with pre-cast concrete rings reinforced with steel and grouted together using concrete.[18] Each ring is comprised of five segments plus a keystone and has a 4.6-foot (1.4-m) arc length, giving the tunnel an internal diameter of 17.4 feet (5.3 m). The tunnels will each be 1.6 miles (2.5 km) in length with a below-the-surface depth ranging from 33 to 98.4 feet (10 to 30 m).[19]

[edit] Elevated Guideway Construction

In the middle of 2006, construction of an elevated guideway beginning in Richmond, B.C. was started. The Canada Line is elevated starting at Marine Drive out to Bridgeport Road. From Bridgeport, the elevated guideway is split with one route going out to the Vancouver Airport and then other route extending along the east side of No. 3 Road to Richmond Center.

The first stage in the construction process was to reroute traffic and utilities off the guideway alignment. With streets remaining open to local pedestrians and vehicle traffic, foundation construction involved ground improvement and the construction of stone columns. This involved excavation and piling, then forming, reinforcing, and casting the concrete, and backfilling the pile cap. Following this was the construction of cast-in-place concrete columns to support the guideway. The guideway was formed using 9.9-foot (3-m) long pre-cast segments that were constructed off-site in a pre-cast construction facility.[20] Guideway segments were raised into place using a truss. The truss is designed to move between columns. Segments fixed together form a section of guideway. As one section is completed, the truss moves to the next column to begin work on the next section of guideway.

As part of the new automated light metro rail system, two new bridges have also been built over the Fraser River. The North Arm Bridge is 656 feet (200 m) east of the Oak Street Bridge with the other bridge built over the middle arm of the Fraser River, connecting Sea Island to Richmond. The North Arm Bridge is a cable system bridge with lower towers and wider distances between the bridge’s foundation piers. This design enables marine traffic to pass under the bridge and minimizes interference with flight traffic coming in an out of the Vancouver International Airport.

[edit] Canada Line Stations

From early 2006 to the middle of 2009, a total of 16 new stations were constructed along the Canada Line. Eight of the stations were built below ground, two at grade level, and six elevated. Construction of underground stations varied depending on the size, location, and complexity. It is estimated that underground stations take anywhere from 24 to 36 months to build and elevated stations, 15 to 21 months. Each station is unique in architectural design, being built to specifically to blend in with the existing fabric of the surrounding community. In the Vancouver area a total of seven underground stations are built and the one at Marine Drive is elevated. In addition to the 16 existing stations  built in 2009, an additional three stations, two in Vancouver at 33rd Avenue and 57th Avenue, and one in Richmond at Capstan Way, will be built at a later date.

[edit] Vancouver Stations
  • Waterfront
  • Vancouver City Center
  • Yaletown—Roundhouse
  • False Creek—South
  • Broadway/ City Hall
  • King Edward
  • Oakridge and 41st Avenue
  • Langara—49th Avenue
[edit] Richmond Stations
  • Bridgeport
  • Aberdeen
  • Lansdowne
  • Richmond—Brighouse
  • Templeton
  • Sea Island Center
  • YVR—Vancouver Airport

[edit] Project Financing

Over half the funding for the project is coming directly from CLCO agencies with a total net contribution of CA$1.25 billion.

  • Government of Canada—$450 million
  • Province of British Columbia—$235 million
  • Vancouver Airport Authority—$245 million
  • South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority—$321 million
  • City of Vancouver—$27 million

InTransitBC is responsible for providing additional funding of $657 million as part of its obligation under a 35-year contract to design, build, operate, maintain and partially finance the transit system. In addition, as part of a fixed contract, InTransitBC is assuming any construction and operational cost overruns.

[edit] Equipment Used

[edit] Refurbishment/Recent Projects/Renovations

The CLCO is restoring areas affected by construction of the Canada Line to their pre-construction state. This includes reinstating roadways and replanting areas all within the Canada Line corridor such as the Cambie Heritage Boulevard that is a wide strip of land that had 288 trees transplanted, relocated, and removed from the area. Of these, 179 were transplanted in other locations and will be planted back when construction is done. Nine other trees were planted to other parts of the city and 100 trees were dead and will be replaced with new trees.

[edit] Unique Facts

  • 4.1 million cubic feet (117, 450 m3) of concrete and 28.6 million pounds (13,000,000 kg) of rebar were used in the cut-and-cover tunneling

[edit] References

  1. Canada Line Overview. CanadaLine.ca, March, 2007. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  2. Canada Line opening draws long lineups CBCNews.ca [September 10, 2009].
  3. Canada Line: FAQs. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-25.
  4. RAV Construction in Richmond. CanadaLine.ca, June, 2005. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  5. Canada Line: Did You Know. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-24.
  6. Canada Line: FAQs. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-25.
  7. Canada Line: FAQs. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-25.
  8. Canada Line: Utility Relocation. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-25.
  9. Canada Line: Cut-and-Cover Tunnel Construction in Vancouver. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-25.
  10. Canada Line: Cut-and-Cover Tunnel Construction in Vancouver. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-25.
  11. Canada Line: Did You Know. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-24.
  12. Sinoski, Kelly. Error delays Canada Line construction. Vancouver Sun, September, 2007. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  13. Sinoski, Kelly. Error delays Canada Line construction. Vancouver Sun, September, 2007. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  14. Canada Line Fact Sheet. CanadaLine.ca, June, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  15. Canada Line: Bored Tunnel Construction in Vancouver. CanadaLine.ca, 2008-09-25.
  16. Canada Line Fact Sheet. CanadaLine.ca, June, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  17. Disposal of Surplus Excavated Materials. CanadaLine.ca, June, 2005. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  18. Canada Line Fact Sheet. CanadaLine.ca, June, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  19. Canada Line Fact Sheet. CanadaLine.ca, June, 2006. (accessed: 2008-09-25)
  20. RAV Construction in Richmond. CanadaLine.ca, June, 2005. (accessed: 2008-09-25)