Canadian Consulting Engineer

Vancouver’s airport transit line hits rails

May 28, 2004
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Vancouver's planned RAV rapid transit line that was to link Richmond, the Airport and the downtown has been stalled...

Vancouver’s planned RAV rapid transit line that was to link Richmond, the Airport and the downtown has been stalled. In early May, the TransLink Board voted not to proceed with the Best and Final Offer stage of the selection process. Two consulting engineering firms, AMEC and SNC-Lavalin, were in consortia who were hoping to design-build, operate and maintain the line. AMEC was on the RAVxpress consortia along with Bombardier of Montreal, Bouygues Travaux Publics, SA and Bilfinger Berger. SNC-Lavalin/Serco was the second consortium.
The Translink board have decided that the costs for the proposed line — budgeted at between $1.5-$1.7 billion — are too high. Instead, they have ordered an investigation into finding ways to build both a cheaper RAV line, as well as a rapid transit extension of the Millennium SkyTrain to Coquitlam for a total $1.9 million. The RAV line as proposed was 19.5 kilometres long with 18 stations. It was being planned to be automated either in whole or in part, elevated in Richmond and on the Vancouver International Airport Sea Islands, and either underground or in a trench north of 63rd Avenue in Vancouver.
Besides the funding problems, the proposed line is meeting opposition from Vancouver residents along Cambie Street who were concerned about the underground tunnel.
Over 60 professional advisors were involved in selecting the two RAV consortia. If the project is cancelled the consortia will be entitled to share a $3 million honorarium.
TransLink Chair Doug McCallum said the board is committed to seeing both the airport and Coquitlam lines built in time for the Winter Olympics to be held in the city in 2010.
“I’m confident that the province, the airport and the federal government will maintain their commitment to these improvements,” he said, “and will keep their funding in place on the understanding that any project we approve will be completed in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics.”


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