Canadian Consulting Engineer

SNC-Lavalin team chosen for Vancouver’s new airport transit

November 25, 2004
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

The board appointed by Translink to oversee the proposed Richmond-Airport-Vancouver transit line project has select...

The board appointed by Translink to oversee the proposed Richmond-Airport-Vancouver transit line project has selected a consortium to design and build the $1.55-billion project. All that is pending now is for a final decision in early December as to whether to proceed. Also the authorities in charge need to find a way to make up a shortfall in funds of approximately $106 million.
Two consortia were involved in the final selection process, and they submitted a total of five possible schemes for the 19.5-kilometre line.
SNC-Lavalin/Serco was the successful team, with a proposal for a fully automated, grade-separated system that runs partially underground, and then on an elevated track. SNC-Lavalin/Serco was selected apparently because it “provided the lowest cost, best value proposal.” The consortium will not only design and build the design, but they will partially finance it and operate it on behalf of Translink for 35 years.
RAV Project Management, a subsidiary of Translink was established to oversee project. The federal and provincial governments, TransLink and the Vancouver International Airport Authority have committed to invest $1.55 billion, and about $200 million is being invested by the private sector. A RAV Project Management press release says that the SNC-Lavalin consortium “assumes significant risks that would otherwise be borne by the public sector, including construction cost overruns, tunneling risks, on-time delivery and operating performance.”
The line is to link growing residential, commercial, health, education and other centres, adding transit capacity equivalent to 10 road lanes. It will provide a link with the SeaBus to the North Shore.
As proposed by SNC-Lavalin/Serco, the line will run underground from Waterfront Station to Cambie Street and 63rd Avenue in Vancouver. Then it will run on an elevated track to Vancouver International Airport and to the Richmond Centre. The Richmond portion will run along the east side of No. 3 Road. The travel time will be 24 minutes from Waterfront Station downtown to the airport, and 24 minutes from Waterfront Station to Richmond. The goal is to have it completed by November 2009.
James Burke, senior vice-president and general manager of the transportation division at SNC-Lavalin’s Vancouver office is named as a leader of the successful team.
The consortium that was not successful was “RAVxpress,” consisting of Bombardier, AMEC, Boyges Travaux Publica, SA and Bilfinger Berger.


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