Starting later this month, TransLink will begin the long process of replacing the six escalators at the Granville SkyTrain station.
Construction will start on May 26 with the three main escalators, which at 115 feet are the longest escalators in Metro Vancouver. Those three escalators, which are original from when the Expo Line opened in 1986, carry roughly 30,000 people on an average weekday — averaging about 10 million people and 12,744 kilometres each year. Each one has 167 steps, only half of which are visible at any one time.
Replacing the escalators is expected to cost an estimated $15.5 million and take about two years.
The confined location and size of the escalators means that they must be built on-site piece-by-piece. The Seymour Street entrance will be closed during construction but customers will still be able to use the Dunsmuir Street entrance and additional fare gates have been added at that entrance to help handle the extra capacity.
TransLink is warning customers to allow for extra travel time, or consider using the Burrard or Chinatown stations instead.
“Every effort is being made to keep the station open for customers, but disruptions are expected,” the company said in a press release. “If multiple escalators at the Dunsmuir entrance aren’t running, there may be circumstances where the station must be closed for safety reasons.”
The replacement of the six Granville escalators is the first of a total of 37 replacements at 13 stations along the Expo Line and at select West Coast Express stations.
“Our SkyTrain system is more than 30 years old and the time has come to make significant investments in our infrastructure to ensure we can keep moving our customers safely and reliably,” TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said in a press release. “That’s why this project, along with the other 97 active projects included in the TransLink Maintenance and Repair program are so important…
“We know this will inconvenience people in the short term, but we thank our customers for their patience while we complete this important work.”
Granville is the third busiest station in the transit system — it is also the deepest station in the system at approximately 25 metres below ground.