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Vancouver Mayor and TransLink Director Sam Sullivan breaks through the ‘ribbon’, to inaugurate the new elevator service at Granville SkyTrain Station.

Greater Vancouver’s public transit system took another step closer to its goal of being fully accessible to transit passengers with disabilities after the opening Friday of an elevator at the Expo SkyTrain Line’s Granville Station. Technical issues prevented an elevator from being installed for the opening of the Expo Line in 1986, but a major commercial/residential development paved the way for one to be added.

Vancouver Mayor and TransLink Director Sam Sullivan performed the ceremonial “ribbon-breaking”. He arrived via SkyTrain from Waterfront Station and pressed the button to open the doors of the new elevator to the public for the first time.

“This is a long-anticipated day,” Mayor Sullivan said. “The City of Vancouver made it a requirement that any developer building above Granville Station include an elevator in the plans. It is gratifying that the partnership between TransLink, and the development team – Wall Financial Corporation and MacDonald Development Corporation – has overcome a major obstacle to the disabled community that has existed for over 20 years.”

“Making public transit fully accessible has been a priority for TransLink,” adds Malcolm Brodie, chair of the TransLink Board. “This major breakthrough at the Granville Station, as well as our brand new accessible trolley fleet that will be rolling out in the coming months, will mark a significant improvement in the freedom to move for those who face barriers to their mobility. The collaboration with the developers of ‘The Hudson’ is a model that can, and should be, repeated throughout the region.”

“ComPACT has worked closely with TransLink to ensure the conventional transit system is accessible and safe for people with disabilities,” says Vince Miele, member of the board of ComPACT, the Committee to Promote Accessible Conventional Transit. “We commend the partners in this endeavour for bringing this long-awaited access to Granville Station.”

The elevator entrance is on Dunsmuir Street between Seymour and Granville, and provides access to the three levels below: a newly completed concourse on the Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) level, the westbound platform, and the eastbound Expo Line platform.

Surprisingly, it's pretty dark... I would think they would use brighter lights but pretty nice. They should use this design on throughout the Granville Station (as in renovate it). Actually, all high-capcity SkyTrain stations need renovating (such as Burrard, Waterfront, Granville, Stadium-Chinatown, Broadway, Joyce, etc.).

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OCTOBER 2006 UPDATE

Waterfront to Vancouver City Centre - Preparations are under way for beginning excavations at Granville St. and Hastings for the Tunnel Boring Machine removal pit and Waterfront Station. Excavation at Granville and Robson is fully under way, with the street completely closed and fenced off. A overhanging pedestrian walkway has been constructed for the emergency fire exits from the Sears building.

Vancouver City Centre to Yaletown - Settlement and vibration monitoring equipment has been installed in buildings along the route in preparation for tunneling. The excavation at Yaletown-Roundhouse station is fully under way.

Yaletown to Olympic Village - The Tunnel Boring Machine has passed under a majority of False Creek, and is beginning to climb upwards towards the Yaletown station. Arrival at Waterfront Station is on schedule for April 7th, 2007.

Olympic Village to Broadway - The buildings at the south-east corner of Broadway and Cambie have been emptied of occupants in preparation for demolition.

Broadway to King Edward - Buildings on the north-west corner of King Edward and Cambie have been demolished in preparation for station construction, with excavations beginning under the intersection.

King Edward to Oakridge - Cut and cover is almost complete for large parts of the northern section, with extensive blasting still under way for the southern section.

Oakridge to Langara - Lanes to the south-west of the 41st and Cambie intersection are now closed off at as the excavation for the connector from the station to Oakridge Shopping Station is completed.

Langara to Marine Drive - Completed cut and cover sections stretch northwards from Marine Drive, and will soon reach Langara. No work on the overhead guideway has yet started.

Marine Drive to Bridgeport - Large diameter pilings have been driven on the North, Island and South supports for the North Fraser crossing. The preload has been mostly removed from the Operations and Maintenance Centre (OMC), and foundations for buildings are being poured. Pillars have been erected from the OMC to Bridgeport, and a large gantry truss is being used to place precast guideway segments in place, with the core Bridgeport Station structure completed.

Bridgeport to YVR - The supports for Middle Fraser bridge are largely complete, and precast segments for the bridge are being staged for placement. The at-grade section near Templeton Station is being poured, and the elevated guideway approaching YVR station is well under way, with four segments already completed.

Bridgeport to Cambie - Piles for the supports for the elevated guideway are starting to be driven on the north end of #3 Road.

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Staged casing segments await their turn down the completed tunnel sections to the Tunnel Boring Machine. These concrete segments are placed by the TBM, then the space between the cut tunnel is filled with grout.

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A work train sits on a siding in the tunnel boring pit at the site of the Olympic Village Station. This narrow gauge railway is used to remove material cut by the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), transport casing segments to the cutting face, and transport crew members in and out of the tunnel.

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A Schoma Locomotive sits at the middle of a train as workers disconnect materials handling equipment from the gantry crane.

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A sub-surface geotechnical profile overlays information gathered from soil samples and drilling with path of the tunnel. The TBM currently is passing through the discontinuity where siltstone/sandstone (pink) gives way to silt (grey).

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Real-time data is telemetered from the TBM to the work yard to allow monitoring of progress, and to allow quality and safety checks to be performed.

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Rebar awaits the placement of forms in preparation for a concrete pour near 33rd Avenue.

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A close-up view of the rebar and the grout work on the edge of the cut and cover excavation. Note the anchor to the middle left.

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Forms for the side-by-side cut and cover segments.

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Twenty metres inside the cut and cover tunnel, looking north. The concrete platform on the left will provide an evacuation route and conduit for services and utilities. Note how wide the tunnel is to accommodate the larger Canada Line rolling stock.

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Major utilities are suspended over the cut at 33rd Ave. as rock is excavated below.

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Large diameter pilings driven on the north banks of the North Arm Fraser Crossing. These piles will support the weight of the first extradosed bridge ever built in North America. This bridge will also include a bicycle and pedestrian path across the Fraser River.

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Mitchell Island has been extended westward to allow piles for the middle pier to be driven on land. Further in the distance, the piles for the south pier have been driven and await the construction of the caisson.

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Looking towards the Operations and Maintenance Centre from the Bridgeport Station. The large yellow and blue gantry is used to place the guideway segments between support towers.

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A new segment of guideway is prepared to be lifted.

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Pile-driving on the north end of #3 Road. Due to the deep levels of sand and silt in Richmond, a new technique known as "Modified Frankie Piles" was developed to minimize movement during large earthquakes while increasing the load that can be supported.

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Dry concrete is prepared to be poured down the pile, while the pile is lifted.

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Note the upward movement of the pile before and during the concrete pour. The concrete is driven into the void left as the pile rises, forming a solid base that helps spread and couple the force placed on the pile to the ground. This way, the friction placed on both the inside and the outside of the pile can be utilized.

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Lighting upgrades at Granville Station to cause only temporary inconvenience.

Please note: at a date yet to be confirmed (likely October or November) the older portion of Granville Station, including the satirway from Seymour Street, and corridor adjacent to The Bay, will be temporarly closed for ceiling and lighting upgrades. Al passangers will be required to use the new entrance for a period of three to four weeks when the station becomes fully operational

About time they should be renovating the station. I think the escalator part between the Concourse and the platform corridor is INCREDIBLY SCARY - wall/panel gaps that are perpindicular to the escalator gives you the illusion that you will fall in that direction. They should make the entire station look like the new part! =P

I use that station frequently and I noticed that there is a 'mistake' in the signs, new section. As you arrive from the Concourse to the Platform level past the escalators, there is a sign <- West - Waterfront | East - Surrey ->. Shouldn't they also include the M-Line? I don't think they should use West or East either. Just have the Station names...

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OCTOBER 2006 UPDATES - PART II

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On the Arthur Laing looking south. Supporting pillars already completed, including the foundations for the ramp from at-grade to elevated.

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Guideway leading to YVR-Airport Station can be seen. Looks like it's still dual guideway at that point, and looks like transition to single-guideway closer to the terminus (a very good thing).

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Excellent overall view of the transition to elevated guideway near YVR-Airport

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At Near No.3 Rd and River Rd

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On Great Canadian Way northbound- What a view!!!

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Good view of the Bridgeport Stationand guideway in construction

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Closeup of the previous pic

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pillars already completed just west of the station towards No.3 Rd

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As well as pillars towards the OMC

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View of Bridgeport Station area from River Rd

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pilings already done looking west from No.3 Rd between Bridgeport and River Rd

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Looks like this is probably the length of the Bridgeport Station platform (The pillar has those horizontal concrete beams that probably supports the floor of the platform)

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Close-up view of the ramp from at-grade to elevated guideway leading to YVR-Airport. (View from North Service Rd)

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A great view of the guideway facing southwards towards Grant McConachie Way

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Talking about the Arthur Laing and Sea Island, please note that the bridge will close on one or both directions through selected dates from Nov. 1 - Dec. 15 because of the Middle Arm Bridge Construction. For more information, please visit:

http://canadaline.ca/files/uploads/docs/doc619.pdf (PDF FILE)

Wow! Construction on the Canada Line has been going pretty quickly at YVR. I'm impressed.

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Airport looks at bridge toll, restrictions

Arthur Laing changes would force commuters onto Oak and Knight streets

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William Boei, Vancouver Sun

Published: Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Vancouver International Airport is considering imposing tolls on the Arthur Laing Bridge and dedicating one or two lanes exclusively to airport traffic.

That would send thousands of motorists who travel between Richmond and Vancouver east to the already congested Oak Street and Knight Street bridges.

The Arthur Laing Bridge, owned by the airport and originally built to serve the airport exclusively, is operating at full capacity -- it is congested in both directions during both rush hours -- and two-thirds of the traffic is commuters driving between Richmond and Vancouver.

The airport, which last month unveiled a long-term growth plan that will further increase traffic, doesn't have much choice, said its transportation and planning manager, John Lenahan.

A decision won't be made for several years, Lenahan said, "but my personal guess would be that within 10 years we're going to have to have something implemented."

That leaves several years for planning, during which traffic on the bridge is likely to become even more congested.

Richmond is considering allowing its population to increase by half to about 300,000, which would generate more traffic.

The airport can't add lanes to the Arthur Laing Bridge or twin it, Lenahan said, because Vancouver has a long-standing policy of not allowing new lanes or bridges to funnel more traffic into the city.

The Canada Line rapid transit line will take a little pressure off, but not nearly enough.

"We're in a bit of a tight spot between the City of Richmond and the City of Vancouver," Lenahan said. "In the meantime, people have to get to the airport."

Unless Vancouver changes its mind about accommodating more traffic, "the only other option would be to take some of the existing capacity and redirect it from commuters to the airport."

That has Richmond council up in arms.

"It will mean further bottlenecks, further traffic jams, and access for emergency vehicles could be problematic," said Richmond Coun. Linda Barnes, who heads the council's public works and transportation committee.

"The committee looked at it and said we didn't want anything to do with it," Barnes said.

She said the issue will likely come before the full Richmond council this week.

The Arthur Laing spans the Fraser River's north arm from the bottom end of Granville Street in Vancouver to Sea Island, where it connects to the No. 2 Road Bridge into Richmond.

Ninety-thousand vehicles a day cross the bridge. Enough of a reverse commute has developed that "it's getting to capacity in both directions morning and afternoon," Lenahan said.

The 30-year-old bridge was originally built as an airport-only bridge. Transport Canada couldn't get either Richmond or the provincial government to help pay for it, and so it wasn't connected to the regional road system.

Motorists got creative. They ignored stop signs and no-right-turn signs, Lenahan said, "and people were getting tickets for taking short cuts to try and go from Richmond to Vancouver, for quite a number of years."

"It was really disruptive," Barnes said, "not only for Richmond, but for anybody going to and from the airport; taxis, buses, a whole variety of traffic."

It took 16 years for a deal to be made. In 1992, the Arthur Laing was finally connected to the new No. 2 Road Bridge from Sea Island to Richmond.

Since then it has filled up, and the airport is still growing. The airport authority now wants passengers and staff and trucks carrying freight to have priority on the bridge.

Airport officials are hoping the Canada Line will be carrying up to 12 per cent of airport passengers and employees within a couple of years of its 2009 opening, eventually ramping up to 18 to 20 per cent.

Most airport rapid transit systems in North American carry six to 10 per cent of airport traffic. The most successful, Washington, D.C.'s Reagan Airport, gets about 14 per cent.

Twenty per cent "would make us the most successful airport in North America for transit use," Lenahan said. "That still means 80 per cent are coming some other way -- buses, cars, rental cars, taxis. And with the growth we have projected here, the Canada Line can't solve all our problems."

Richmond council may have another three or four years to find another solution, Barnes said, adding that Richmond has to push the airport for the details behind its plans.

"What's behind this request? What is the need? And are there other ways of getting that need met without dedicating these lanes?"

TransLink, the regional transportation authority, has no sway over the Arthur Laing Bridge, said spokesman Ken Hardie.

"It's owned by the airport," Hardie said. "It's not part of the major roads network. Therefore it's not subject to any approval process from TransLink."

But Lenahan said, if there's another solution, it has to be found at the regional level.

"We all have to start looking at this as a regional problem, not just Richmond's problem or our problem or Vancouver's," he said.

"We need a regional approach to transportation. We've started to see some of that, but it's still a little parochial sometimes."

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October 10, 2006

Federal Funding Boosts Public Transit Service

TransLink Chair Malcolm Brodie hosted the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Canada’s Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Ida Chong, BC’s Minister of Community Services, at

the new Vancouver Transit Centre today to mark the transfer of federal Gas Tax Funds in

the Lower Mainland.

This revenue sharing program will see $307 million dedicated to transit improvements in

the GVRD by 2010. In addition, funding through the Public Transit Agreement and the

Public Transit Capital Trust could mean millions more for transit expansion and renewal.

Chair Brodie used the occasion to announce that TransLink is using the first $74 million

in federal gas tax revenue to assist in the purchase of 225 new buses to modernize and

expand transit services.

Minister Cannon, who applied the Canada wordmark to one of the new buses on display

at the event, said these buses are tangible examples to people across the region of the

federal government’s commitment to cleaner air and healthy economies for Canada’s

cities. “Canada’s government has moved aggressively to help our cities address their

significant infrastructure deficits while promoting environmental benefits. Our budget

committed $16.5 billion over the next four years – an unprecedented level of support that

signals our larger effort to address the fiscal balance, in part on the principle of

predicable, long-term fiscal arrangements between the levels of governments,” Minister

Cannon said.

The Honourable Ida Chong, the provincial Minster of Community Services, said the

province shares the federal government’s priority to address municipal infrastructure

needs. “Our government, and my ministry specifically, has paid specific attention to

ensuring that municipalities across the province have fair and equitable access to

Government of Canada funding. I am especially pleased that our partnership with the

Union of BC Municipalities provides a mechanism for regional districts to set their own

priorities for Gas Tax Funding from the federal government,” Minister Chong said. She

noted that the GVRD had determined that all $307 million coming to the region through

the federal Strategic Priorities Fund should flow through to TransLink for transit

improvements.

TransLink Chair Malcolm Brodie added by providing details of the bus purchase program

made possible by federal Gas Tax Funding. “The first wave of new vehicles is just now

coming into service – the 55 compressed natural gas vehicles we purchased in the spring

as additional buses for the fleet. The second wave, 52 new generation ‘clean diesels’ are

due to start arriving next month from New Flyer Industries in Winnipeg. Just last week,

we signed an order for 126 more new buses from NovaBus in Quebec,” Brodie said,

“which will help us meet our target of 1,400 buses in service by the end of 2007.

The 225 new buses can carry up to 25 million passengers per year, and Brodie said that

expanding and modernizing the transit fleet was one of TransLink’s top priorities to

ensure the region’s transportation system can continue to serve the growing demand to

move people and goods.

This month, TransLink will be making an application to the UBCM for funding to

support the purchase of 34 new SkyTrain cars and 24 new Community Shuttle buses

through the federal/provincial Public Transit Agreement.

The federal government also transferred on September 25th to British Columbia a further

$119.3 million from the Public Transit Capital Trust program. TransLink will make

application for funding from this program at the first available opportunity.

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New YVR link on schedule

Transit line going up 'right before our eyes': Mayor

Andy Ivens, The Province

Published: Tuesday, October 17, 2006

An air horn blared, assembled dignitaries cheered and concrete began to flow for the final elevated guideway column on the Vancouver-airport section of the new Canada Line rapid-transit line yesterday.

On time and on budget, the Canada Line is emerging "right before our eyes," as TransLink chairman and Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie noted.

Because of the rapid pace of construction, Brodie predicted the time until the Canada Line gets up and running -- scheduled for November 2009 -- "will go by very quickly."

In nine months' time, the four-kilometre Sea Island section of the line should be completed. It will then be used as the test track for the entire 19-kilometre line linking the airport and Richmond to downtown Vancouver.

The next phase of construction will see the guideway extended eastward over the Arthur Laing Bridge, under the Oak Street Bridge and on to the Bridgeport Station site.

Concrete segments weighing 39 tonnes -- each one unique -- are being cast at Canada Line's pre-cast yard in south Vancouver and transported to their locations.

A hybrid-design cable-stayed bridge will span the main channel of the Fraser River somewhere near the foot of Cambie Street. It's the first of its kind in North America.

"[The bridge] was a challenge," said Alan Dever, director of communications for Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc.

"It has to be high enough for the shipping [on the Fraser] and low enough for the planes [to pass over safely]."

The bridge will feature a dedicated bike path and a pedestrian walkway.

Steve Crombie, vice-president of public affairs for InTransit B.C. Ltd., said the YVR station "will be integrated with the look of the airport . . . You will see lots of glass that will make it transparent."

Crombie said West Coast native art will be incorporated into the station, in keeping with YVR's theme.

- Road closures on the Arthur Laing Bridge will begin next month. On 16 nights between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15, northbound, southbound or all lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

aivens@png.canwest.com

© The Vancouver Province 2006

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  • 2 weeks later...

New pics from the Canada Line website:

Sea Island looking west to YVR:

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Sea Island looking east to the Arthur Laing Bridge approach and the Middle Arm Bridge:

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Sea Island looking to the Arthur Laing Bridge approach and the Middle Arm Bridge:

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East of Bridgeport Station heading towards the Middle Arm Bridge to YVR

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More Sea Island pics from the Canada Line website - they start assembling sections over the Arthur Laing Bridge tomorrow night:

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YVR media event (pouring of the last column @YVR, I think).

Notice how narrow the column tops are for the single track guideway:

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This is the column (not sure why the ceremony - they still have station columns to build)

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Impressive, but idealistic. The impressions look have highrise all around it.

I thought the design for Richmond-Brighouse station was bad. I was thinking that the station will somehow have a bridge connecting to Richmond Centre without having to cross No. 3 Rd. Still disappointed about that.

Richmond should thank Burnaby. After all, they learned from their Lougheed SkyTrain M-Line approach.

Off topic, but I finally got a chance to ride the new electric buses. I have to say I'm disappointed - don't like it at all. New Flyer shoud be using the 98 B-Line style interiors. The 'Next Stop' sign disappointed me the most. I was thinking of LED Light Ones, like the B-Line. It's also a bit to open. There was bar missing around the rear doors. A bar there is needed - personal preference though.

Please note Seymore SkyTrain Station is closed. All passangers must use Dunsmir Entrance or Granville Street entrances, using the Dunsmir Ticket Vending Machine Level. I've noticed that in your picture, their is a sign West - Waterfront and East- Surrey sign. It should be Waterfront and VCC-Clark/King George instead of East-Surrey.

Anyways, I'm just blabbing on sorry! >.<

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November 8 Construction Update:

Please note, at the intersection of 41st Ave and 49th Ave at Cambie St, bridge construction will take place. Pleae expect delays. Bus stops and/or bus shelters will be relocated if necessary. Information will be posted on the Canada Line website and on bus stop poles.

Arthur Laing Bridge:

A reminder that the Aruthur Laing Bridge will continue to close from 10:00 PM to 5:00 AM throughout selected days in November and December. Link is provided below for complete schedule:

http://canadaline.ca/files/uploads/docs/doc619.pdf

Cambie St. Bus:

40 ft. buses will run Cambie St instead of the purposed 35 - 30 ft. buses, probably using New Flyer's Restyled Design (newest New Flyer redesign gas bus runs temporarly on 27, 26, and 29 routes). Please note, it will not be electric. Buses will run from Marine Dr. Station and will terminate in the downtown area (location is yet to be determined). Other new buses that will cross Cambie St., connecting with the Canada Line and/or the Cambie Bus are 91 B-Line and 33 Cross-Town Route.

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  • 2 weeks later...

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS UPDATE AT YVR - NOVEMBER 18, 2006

YVR Station - The YVR station is situated to the south of the International Terminal, and will require the removal of the walkway to the parkade and the elevator/stairwell. Excavation for the station foundation is starting, and a temporary road has been build to divert traffic around the site.

YVR - Sea Island Centre - All of the supports of the guideway have been completed, and the guideway is more than half complete, with all spans of the dual-track section assembled, and two spans of the single-track section assembled.

Sea Island Centre Station - The foundation work for this station is underway, with one of the roads connecting to the north access road closed for the construction.

Sea Island Centre - Templeton - Part of the at-grade section has been poured, with foundation work continuing on other sections. The ramps for the new overpass to allow access to the North Access Road is being prepared.

Templeton Station - The foundation work for this station is underway, and the land to the north is being cleared for future construction of the new parking lots.

Templeton - Bridgeport - Work on the middle-arm bridge continues, with the west section of the span well underway. Work on the middle and east piers continues.

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Looking east from the site of the YVR station. A temporary roadway can be seen in the lower right of the picture, which will allow the traffic to bypass the site for the first phase of the station construction.

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Looking west towards the airport. The large steel structure in distance, under the crane, is the new Link Building, which will act as the main terminus of the airport branch of the Canada Line.

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The erection gantry assembles a single-track segment. It has almost reached the point where the guideway crosses Grant McConachie Way.

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Guideway segments hang loose in preparation for tensioning. In the lower left, the point where the guideway transitions from dual-track to single-track can be seen. The future YVR3 station would be just to the west of where the dual-track guideway ends.

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The transition section between the elevated section and the at-grade section, between the future YVR3 and the Sea Island Centre station.

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Sections of rail for the guideway are unloaded from a truck.

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Equipment for surfacing the concrete used for the at-grade sections lies ready for the next pour.

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Looking east towards the site of Sea Island Centre station.

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Looking west from Sea Island Centre station. The transition from at-grade to elevated guideway can be seen, along with the completed guideway stretching towards the airport terminal buildings.

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Piles of pumice used for light-weight fill for embarkments rise front of a completed section of guideway immediately to the west of the site of Templeton Station.

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The west-most span of the middle-arm crossing, almost completed across the Arthur Lang bridge.

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A guideway segment is used to laterally brace the bridge.

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Dynamic bracing keeps the span balanced as segments are added sequentially to each end.

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A narrowing gap in the bridge.

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A new bridge segment is raised into position to be secured to pier M3.

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Pier M4 rises above the water of the Middle Arm of the Fraser River.

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The newly secured bridge segment, fully attached to pier M3

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