The Canada Line is one of the largest Public-Private Partnership (P3) in Canadian history. It is an automated rail-based rapid transit service connecting Downtown Vancouver with central Richmond and the Vancouver International Airport — linking growing residential, business, health care, educational and other centres in the region — and adding transit capacity equivalent to 10 major road lanes. The Canada Line connects with existing rapid transit lines at Waterfront Station and major east-west transit services, creating an enhanced transit network to serve the region.
In 2005, InTransitBC was contracted to design, build, partially finance, operate and maintain the Canada Line for a 35-year period. InTransitBC is a joint venture company owned by SNC-Lavalin, the Investment Management Corporation of BC (bcIMC), and the Caisse de Depot et Placements de Quebec.
Some construction highlights:
Sweet Leilani, the 86 metres long, 6.1 metres in diameter Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM), was launched on June 10, 2006 in South False Creek. The TBM removed over 200,000 cubic metres of rock on its way to completing twin 5.3 metre internal diameter tunnels, each measuring 2.5 kilometres long, and breaking through at Waterfront Station on March 2, 2008.
The cut-and-cover tunnels measure 4.26 metres high and between 4.40 and 4.65 metres wide. The tunnels run side-by-side under Cambie Street between SW Marine Drive and King Edward Ave., and stacked one on top of the other between King Edward Ave and Broadway.
Two new bridges were built for the project. The North Arm Bridge, linking Vancouver and Richmond, is the first extradosed bridge in North America. The combination of balanced cantilevered and cable stay bridge technology makes it possible for the bridge to span across the busy marine traffic of the Fraser River while not interfering with the flight path in and out of the Vancouver International Airport.
The 16 stations were grouped into 4 design families to reflect the distinct characteristics of the neighbourhoods in which they reside. The usage of glass and wood to maximize natural lighting in the stations and to highlight the harmony between machine and nature is common throughout all families.
For the elevated guideway linking Vancouver from the Marine Drive tunnel portal to both Richmond–Brighouse Station and YVR-Airport Station, over 2,000 segments were pre-cast in South Vancouver and strung together in spans by a Launching Girder (LG). On March 5, 2008, the last segment was lifted in place in Richmond, completing the construction of the elevated guideway.
With speed of up to 80 kilometres per hour, the Canada Line train can accommodate up to 400 passengers. Built by Hyundai Rotem in Changwon, South Korea, the vehicles are longer and wider than the SkyTrain rolling stock.
Originally scheduled for completion and service commencement for November 30, 2009, the Canada Line opened its doors to the public, on budget, and more than 3 months ahead of schedule on Monday, August 17, 2009.