First tunnel boring machine breakthrough for Broadway Subway Project

TBM ‘Elsie’ arrives at first Broadway Subway Project station

VANCOUVER, B.C. –A first major milestone has been reached by the Acciona Ghella JV on the Broadway Subway Project. ‘Elsie’ – the first of two tunnel boring machines (TBMs) at work on the project – has arrived at her first stop with a clean, safe breakthrough into the excavation site of the future Mount Pleasant Station.

Elsie, a custom-built, 150-metre-long TBM bored a six-meter-wide hole in the station’s east wall at around 6 pm of the 23rd of January.

Representatives from ACCIONA and Ghella were on site to witness the major milestone.

Congratulations to the entire project team, our hard-working supply chain and our client, the Province of British Columbia on achieving a successful first TBM breakthrough,” said ACCIONA Project Director for the Broadway Subway Project, Javier Sanz Mugica. “Our team will now focus on ensuring that subsequent TBM breakthroughs are executed safely and timely in the coming year, while progressing other important activities along the alignment such as the excavation and concrete works at the stations and the completion of the elevated guideway.

This first and important milestone for our tunnels is the result of a hard teamwork at all levels within our organization. A special mention goes to our Tunnel team, perfect combination of international experts and local talents, who assembled and guided our “Elsie” from Great Northern Way to Mount Pleasant. We are extremely proud to share this achievement with our client, our stakeholders and the local community, which are supporting us in the execution of this important infrastructure aiming to improve the quality of the life of hundreds of thousands of people in British Columbia” said Ghella Deputy Project Director for the Broadway Subway Project, Andrea Calì.

Elsie, who is named after notable B.C.-born aircraft designer Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill, began excavating the outbound five-kilometre tunnel last fall.

The project’s second TBM boring the inbound five-kilometre tunnel, ‘Phyllis’, named after well-known B.C. naturalist and mountain climber Phyllis Munday, followed suit in late November 2022. Phyllis is expected to arrive at the Mount Pleasant Station site this spring.

The TBMs launched separately from Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station and will each take about one year to reach their final destination at Cypress Street, near the future Arbutus Station.

Once tunnel boring finishes, crews will complete construction of the underground stations, and install the train tracks and supporting systems. The final steps include testing and commissioning the new line.

The Broadway Subway Project will extend the Millennium Line 5.7 kilometres from VCC-Clark Station to West Broadway and Arbutus Street, providing people with fast, convenient SkyTrain service along the Broadway corridor, home to B.C.’s second largest jobs centre, world-class health care services, an emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities.