BC: Progress on Evergreen Line Construction, First Contracts Awarded

PORT MOODY, BC, Jan. 25, 2012 /CNW/ - The Evergreen Line is taking a major step forward with pre-construction beginning and shovels hitting the ground in the next couple of weeks, bringing new jobs and improved transit options for residents of Metro Vancouver.

Today, the Honourable Blair Lekstrom, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, joined the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and Senior Minister Responsible for British Columbia, and His Worship Richard Walton, chair of the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation, to welcome the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, and announce that two local companies have been awarded contracts for pre-construction work on the new Evergreen Line rapid transit project. Minister Lekstrom also confirmed continuing community outreach to keep the public informed about the project.

"Metro Vancouver has a first-class transit system and the Evergreen Line will help build on that success," said Minister Lekstrom. "One of our main goals is to ensure people receive timely information either face to face, over the phone or from social media. We're talking to residents and businesses so they understand what will happen during construction and will continue to be out in the communities as the project continues."

"Our government is proud to be a partner in the Evergreen Line project and the start of pre-construction work is great news for this growing region of Metro Vancouver," said Minister Lebel. "The significant federal investment in this project will create jobs and economic growth in British Columbia and, once complete, the Evergreen Line will cut commute times, reduce traffic congestion and result in cleaner air."

"Today is an important milestone for the Tri-Cities, Metro Vancouver and British Columbia," said Minister Moore. "From job creation to reducing commute times, today marks the start of a project that will positively impact Metro Vancouver for many years to come."

Pedre Contractors Ltd., based in Langley, will install new underground power lines in Port Moody and Coquitlam. The power lines will provide power to build the bored tunnel and supply power for the operation of the Evergreen Line. Hans Demolition and Excavating, based in Surrey, will remove two vacant buildings in Coquitlam and one in Burnaby.

"With Greater Vancouver's population forecast to grow by nearly one million people, as a region we face a growing need to invest in integrated regional transportation infrastructure that supports development, leads to improved air quality, and provides for the efficient movement of goods and people now and into the future," said Mayor Walton. "The increased development that will come with the completion of the Evergreen Line will assist the region in its efforts to manage both growth and development objectives. This is an excellent example of what can be accomplished through partnerships at all levels of government."

Pre-construction activities include widening roads, relocating utilities (such as hydro and natural gas lines), realigning railway tracks and removing vacant buildings. Contracts will be awarded and the work will occur over the next several months. Pre-construction lays the groundwork for major construction and will help accelerate the project schedule.

The total project cost for the Evergreen Line is estimated to be $1.4 billion. Funding is being provided by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada and TransLink. The province is contributing $583 million and will also oversee construction of the project. The Government of Canada is contributing up to $417 million. TransLink is contributing $400 million and will operate the Evergreen Line when it is complete.

The Province of British Columbia will select a primary contractor to design and build the Evergreen Line this summer. The Evergreen Line is expected to be in service in the summer of 2016, and the project will create 8,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction.

As part of the Evergreen Line project, the province has initiated an extensive community outreach program to encourage two-way communication with the public, and provide timely information and construction updates. Some multilingual information will also be available in Traditional Chinese and Korean.

A new Facebook page (Evergreen Line Rapid Transit Project) is available for people to learn more about the project. Information about construction and how it impacts traffic will also be available on Twitter @TranBC and on the project website atwww.evergreenline.gov.bc.ca.

The Evergreen Line will link the communities of Port Moody, Coquitlam and Burnaby with the existing Millennium Line SkyTrain. It will support community growth and new development along the route and near the stations by providing better transit connections between regional centres and downtown Vancouver. The Evergreen Line will improve quality of life for these communities by providing faster commutes, easing road congestion and reducing pollution.

The Evergreen Line builds on Canada Starts Here: The B.C. Jobs Plan by creating 8,000 jobs during construction and supports the economy by reducing traffic congestion, which will improve the movement of people, goods and services on Lower Mainland roads. Working with employers and communities to enable job creation across B.C. is one of the three pillars in the jobs plan aimed at helping B.C. deal with today's economic uncertainty and emerge stronger than ever.

Transport Canada is online atwww.tc.gc.ca/eng/tc-main.htm. Subscribe to e-news or stay connected through RSS, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Flickr to keep up to date on the latest from Transport Canada.

Backgrounder Information

Evergreen Line

The Evergreen Line is a new 11-kilometre rapid transit line that will connect Coquitlam to Vancouver via Port Moody and Burnaby.

Why the Evergreen Line matters

More transit options with faster, more frequent and more efficient service, especially for commuters in the northeast sector more economic opportunities for businesses near the Evergreen Line route and stations 8,000 direct and indirect jobs from construction frequent service every three minutes during peak periods; service almost 20 hours a day faster travel time 15 minutes from Coquitlam City Centre to Lougheed Town Centre from Coquitlam City Centre to Vancouver in 40 minutes, saving almost 45 minutes per day compared to driving direct connection, without transfer to the Millennium Line projected ridership of 70,000 per day by 2021Community outreach

The Evergreen Line project has a proactive community outreach program to keep the public, businesses, residents and stakeholders informed about the project through ongoing two-way communications. The Evergreen Line project will have some information available in Traditional Chinese and Korean. Elements of the community outreach program include: a business liaison program to establish two-way communication between the Evergreen Line project and businesses located along the route to help minimize construction-related impacts on businesses as much as possible; a proactive community relations program that provides regular information about the project through community updates, construction bulletins, a website, social media and community meetings, and that addresses public inquiries and issues; and a comprehensive traffic communications program, including regular traffic alerts, to inform the public and commuters about construction activities and traffic information, and help people choose the best alternative routes.Learn More

The Evergreen Line:www.evergreenline.gov.bc.ca

Receive project updates on Twitter: @TranBC #EvergreenlineBC and on Facebook: Evergreen Line.

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