No tunnel planned for Burrard Inlet Rapid Transit project

The proposed transit line is expected to cross Burrard Inlet at the Second Narrows Bridge

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The use of tunnel crossings to decongest commuters to and from the North Shore has been ruled out.

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In a statement, a communications consultant for the District of West Vancouver said an initial study had identified five potential crossing options for a new rapid transit line, including tunnels.

However, they said “a tunnel is unlikely to be feasible as it is believed to be technically difficult and expensive”.

The spokesperson was responding to questions raised about TransLink’s recently released Transportation 2050: 10 Year Priorities document which called for immediate progress on the Burrard Inlet Rapid Transit project.

Burrard Inlet Rapid Transit is to be an entirely traffic-segregated transit connection to the North Shore between Park Royal and Metrotown or downtown Vancouver and is supported by the District of West Vancouver through its membership in a group called North Shore Connects.

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According to this group, the North Shore is the last major population base in the region without rapid transit.

At the start of the studies, three tunnel crossings were proposed. One just west of the Lions Gate Bridge, one just east of the bridge, and one from the SeaBus terminal in North Vancouver to downtown Vancouver.

These have been ruled out, with the preferred route now running either from Metrotown north to the Second Narrows Bridge then west to Park Royal in West Vancouver (10 stations), or from Waterfront station to downtown Vancouver east to Second Narrows Bridge then west to Royal Park (11 stations).

It has not been determined if a new bridge would be required to cross Burrard Inlet or if the existing bridge could be used. There is a rail bridge just east of the Second Narrows bridge that could potentially be upgraded and used.

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