Graham- Metrotown Station and Exchange
Upgrade project

For nearly a century, Graham Construction has contributed to the construction industry’s biggest and most innovative projects—in fact, the company’s inaugural project was no less than building railway stations for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Today, Graham is a multi-billion dollar company with a roster of industrial, building, and infrastructure projects that have shaped Canadian communities and contributed to the quality of life for millions.

In 2018, Graham added to this prolific legacy through participation in a railway station of another kind, the Metrotown Station and Exchange Upgrade project in Vancouver. Originally built in 1986, the station now serves 50,000 trips daily, and the bus exchange over 25,000, well beyond its original capacity.

TransLink (the authority responsible for the regional transportation network of Metro Vancouver) chose Graham for the $49.4 million contract that would ultimately upgrade passenger flow, transfer experience, and relation to the neighbourhood. Graham’s scope of work included three new Station Houses, improved access via escalators, elevators, staircases and four new points of access to the platform, extended roofs, three station vestibules and ancillary buildings, bike storage, as well as upgrades to Central Boulevard and a new plaza area.

Graham mobilized on March 5th, 2015. Careful planning and substantial reinforcing to the existing Station structure were done prior to an extremely complex demolition process, which allowed the trains and full public access with no interruptions throughout the Project while the structure of the existing platform was modified to accommodate new stairs, elevators and eight new escalators. During demolition, noise and vibration were monitored carefully to ensure safety and a general level of comfort for the public.

Through Graham’s project methodology, innovative solutions and value engineering, the 3-year project was completed early and without a single service disruption to SkyTrain Operations.

VRCA Award

For both its functionality and beauty, Graham’s work on the Station and Exchange project was awarded a Gold in the General Contractors $15 Million – $50 Million Category by the VRCA (Vancouver Regional Construction Association). The VRCA Awards celebrate excellence in construction by recognizing the finest in the BC construction industry. This year was their 30th Anniversary with over 200 nominations representing more than $2 billion in construction value.

Vladimir Krotkiy, Senior Project Manager at Graham, says, “It is a great honour to receive the Gold Award for our teams’ efforts on the successful completion of the Metrotown SkyTrain Station and Exchange Upgrade project and be among so many other local prestigious projects and companies. The success of the project would not be possible without teamwork, collaboration and contribution from our trade and supplier partners, design and consultant teams, and SkyTrain Operations.”

Graham was recognized for its Financial and Schedule Performance, Value Engineering, Quality, Safety, and, most notably, challenges of the working environment. “[This was the] very definition of a project executed in a “live” environment,” says Krotkiy. “The Metrotown site team managed an average 50,000 passengers every day and worked countless night shifts to successfully tackle changes and challenges and turn over the station as scheduled, meeting TransLink’s objectives. Major passenger management required multiple changes in the station access, Graham developed a plan of temporary emergency stairs that shaved 1.5 years off the schedule.”

This was the first live station renovation of this scale in Vancouver that included prefabrication on the ground of 250 feet long, weighing 130,000 pounds roof trusses with all the finishes installed prior to lifting it above the guideway.

Specifically, on the Metrotown SkyTrain Station project, safety was of paramount importance with the complexity of the project, the many stakeholders and variables, the project team is proud to yield a solid safety record of zero LTA with 300,000 + field hours.

“Due to the operational risks specific to trains and the general public, TransLink has multiple layers of safety requirements that are specific to large transportation infrastructure projects in live environment,” says Krotkiy. “Graham worked diligently with BCRTC Safety to ensure all workers were received mandatory BCRTC safety certification every and site-specific safety procedures were strictly followed.”

Graham is focused on fostering relationships, transparency, collaboration, innovation and providing best value, all of which is evident in the successful delivery of the Metrotown SkyTrain project. “The Graham team generated innovative solutions, such as a temporary entrance to the Central Station House and the installation of temporary stair systems to maintain access for passengers, so that our crews and trade partners were able to make progress on the scopes of work and allow an early start date for the West Station House construction.”

Loop Truss

According to Krotkiy, Graham implemented an accelerated schedule plan that involved assembly of loop trusses on the ground subsequently placed in four successful major steel lifts during non-revenue hours (2:00-5:00AM) to reduce working time above the guideway and minimize risks of service disruption. Each truss weighed 130,000 pounds and measured 250 feet long.

To mitigate the impact of design changes on the project schedule, Graham implemented an accelerated schedule plan that involved assembly of loop trusses on the ground which significantly reduced working time above the guideway and minimized risks of service disruption.

“For many members of the project team including TransLink, this was the first experience of major pre-fabrication during station renovations,” says Krotkiy. “Graham devised a very creative pedestrian and traffic management that allowed shortened construction durations while maintaining the level and quality of service for Skytrain passengers.”

Working on a legacy project such as this one that will impact the lives of BC citizens is a proud achievement for the entire team at Graham, says Krotkiy. “The Station upgrades were long overdue and came just in time considering the major real estate boom in Burnaby and tens of thousands of new residents moving into their new homes in the Metrotown area, who will now have this state-of-the-art Station available for their transit needs.”