The Government of British Columbia announced that Phyllis, the second of two massive tunnel-boring machines that are excavating twin tunnels for the Broadway Subway Project, broke through to the future Broadway-City Hall Station, marking another milestone for the rapid-transit project.

The machine is named for Phyllis Munday, a passionate mountaineer best known for exploring and documenting the Coast Mountains and Mount Waddington, and nurse and founder of the Girl Guides in British Columbia. Phyllis has excavated 1,350 metres of tunnel and installed 884 liner rings since starting at the future Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station in late November 2022.

The Broadway Subway Project (No. 26 on ReNew Canada’s 2023 Top100 Projects report) is a 5.7-kilometre extension of the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark Station to West Broadway and Arbutus Street, which will provide people with fast, convenient SkyTrain service along the Broadway corridor. The corridor is home to B.C.’s second-largest jobs centre, 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 from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Station will take 11 minutes, saving the average transit commuter almost 30 minutes a day and relieving congestion along Broadway.

Phyllis has joined Elsie, the tunnel-boring machine named after notable B.C.-born Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill, the world’s first female aeronautical engineer, at the future Broadway-City Hall Station for planned maintenance.

The new Broadway-City Hall Station is the deepest station along Broadway at more than 20 metres underground, so that the Millennium Line extension can be built underneath the active Canada Line. The station stretches 210 metres over two blocks under Broadway between Alberta and Cambie streets to provide space for a crossover section of track where trains can switch directions when needed. The station will have additional capacity for the expected volume of transit users, including passenger connections being built underneath Cambie Street, in order for people to easily transfer between the north-south Canada Line and the east-west Millennium Line.

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Earlier this month at the Broadway-City Hall Station site, a pedestrian bridge was installed to reconnect the south sidewalk between Alberta and Yukon streets. It is one of several installed in the station blocks along Broadway that, combined with the traffic decks, keep people moving and preserve access to this transportation and retail corridor while work on the underground stations carries on below.

Progress continues to be made at the elevated guideway where crews are installing the deck on top of the completed girders that connect the 21 columns between VCC-Clark Station and the future Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station. Construction is also ongoing at all six station locations with activities ranging from excavation, concrete pours, waterproofing, rebar installation and station wall construction.

Featured image: Phyllis, the second of two massive tunnel-boring machines that are excavating twin tunnels for the Broadway Subway Project, broke through to the future Broadway-City Hall Station, marking another milestone for this major rapid-transit project. (BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)

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