Tunnel boring machine Phyllis has broken through at the future Oak-VGH Station

Tunnel boring machine Phyllis has broken through at the future Oak-VGH Station achieving another milestone for the Broadway Subway Project in Vancouver.

Phyllis, named after Phyllis Munday, a nurse and mountaineer who founded the Girl Guides in British Columbia, has now reached the fourth of six underground stations, excavating more than 2 kilometres of tunnel and installing about 1,330 concrete tunnel liner rings since departing from Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station last fall. The custom-built, 150-metre-long machine passed under the Canada Line at a depth of 22 metres shortly after departing Broadway-City Hall Station. From there, the newly completed tunnel rises to 15 metres below the surface at Laurel Street. Phyllis will continue towards the future South Granville Station after undergoing scheduled maintenance.

The Broadway Subway Project, being built by the ACCIONA Ghella JV, is a 5.7-kilometre extension of the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to West Broadway and Arbutus Street, providing people with fast, convenient SkyTrain service along the Broadway corridor. The corridor is home to B.C.’s second-largest jobs centre, world-class health-care services, an emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities.

The project means faster travel, better access and fewer cars on the road in this heavily used corridor. Once in service, the trip between VCC-Clark and Arbutus stations will take 11 minutes, saving the average transit commuter almost 30 minutes a day and relieving congestion along Broadway.

The project’s other tunnel boring machine (TBM), named Elsie after notable B.C.-born aircraft designer Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill, is en route to Oak-VGH Station and will arrive later this fall.

The future Oak-VGH Station, located on the southwest corner of Broadway and Laurel Street, will offer better access to Vancouver General Hospital and the rest of the medical district. This construction site is one of a number featuring a pedestrian bridge above the excavated station, which keeps people moving around construction activities.

Work to construct the concrete walls, columns and floors is underway in various stages at all six new underground stations. At South Granville and Arbutus stations, crews are focused on the final preparations to receive the TBMs.

Workers are also building the concrete deck on top of the 106 girders and 21 piers for the 700-metre-long elevated guideway section that connects the Broadway Subway Project to the existing Millennium Line.

The project supports new transit-oriented developments, which create efficient, connected communities where people can easily access public transit and have their day-to-day needs conveniently located close to home.

It’s estimated the Broadway Subway Project is creating more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, supporting economic development within the region and beyond.