Massive machine on the way for Evergreen Line construction


COQUITLAM (NEWS1130) – Work on the Evergreen Line linking Burnaby with the Tri-Cities will soon be entering an important phase.

Preparations are now underway for a mega-machine that will help push the project along. It’s a 1,200-tonne, 10-metre-in-diameter behemoth that will take a year to travel more than two kilometres underground.

The tunnel boring machine that will be used to hollow out the rapid transit line’s route arrives in December, but crews are already working to accommodate this massive piece of machinery near the Barnett Highway and View Street.

“They have to do some excavation to drop the elevation and create a pad and a launch area for the tunnel boring machine, so right now there is ongoing shoring and other work to get ready for it’s arrival,” says Scott Roberts with the Evergreen project.

The machine should be here in early December after a long trip, in pieces, by rail and truck from Ontario. “Then it takes a couple months to assemble and we expect to actually launch the tunnel boring machine in early February,” Roberts tells News1130.

Once in the ground, the machine will take a year to travel 2.2 kilometres to Burquitlam, where it will see the light of day again.

“The head of this machine weighs 109 tonnes and it’s 10 metres in diameter. The machine itself is 11 metres long and weighs 1,100 tonnes and will travel eight metres a day, approximately 56 metres a week.”

Following tradition, it will also get a name.

“Once it’s assembled and launched we will have a ceremony,” explains Roberts. “It’s kind of like christening a boat and we will make the name public at that point.”

Whether the big machine is a “she” or a “he” will also be revealed at that time.

Roberts says traffic disruptions will be kept to a minimum, with the pieces of the tunnel boring machine arriving over a three-week period, during overnight hours. The launch area is well off the Barnett Highway.

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