Is TransLink Hiding Subway Costs?

TransLink has never estimated the costs associated with maintaining a subway.

I wanted to post this item, not to show problems with London’s proposed BRT, rather that cost of tunneling had been vastly under estimated on the subway portion of this project.

An excerpt from the London Free Press.

City hallai??i??s consultant, IBI Group, had dropped a bombshell on city officials that day: The tunnelai??i??s construction would now cost as much as $220 million ai??i?? 60 per cent above the initial upper limit, $135 million.

That $220 million figure, which stunned city officials, was soon made public. But sources say city officials believe the tunnel price tag could eventually have exceeded $300 million.

Again, the total BRT price tag, including the early tunnel estimate, was $560 million, with city hallai??i??s stake capped at $130 million and the rest needed from Ottawa and Queenai??i??s Park. If tunnel costs ballooned, itai??i??s unlikely Ottawa or the province would cover much of it ai??i?? meaning the local share would jump considerably.

There were a number of factors for the skyrocketing construction cost, sources say:

ai??i?? Conditions exist to turn beneath-downtown soil into a quicksand-like goo, potentially destabilizing old buildings.

ai??i?? Soil could be stabilized with chemicals, but thatai??i??s extremely costly.

ai??i?? Cost estimate for the underground station at Richmond/Oxford streets jumped.

ai??i?? Heating and ventilation prices went up, too

So, in short, city officials always knew the tunnel would be a challenging project. But now ai??i?? given the increased costs, and fears it could get even higher ai??i?? it looked irresponsible to some of them.

A 60% increase in the estimated cost of building a tunnel is stunning and I believe taxpayers in Metro Vancouver will have the same sort of “tunnel shock” with the proposed Broadway SkyTrain Subway, where early estimates of the project costing no more than $2 billion, will sky rocket past $3 billion!

But then, it doesn’t matter because the proposed Broadway subways has nothing to do about building better transit, rather it is a massive vanity project built to satisfy both the collective egos at Vancouver city hall and their political friends, the land speculators and land developers, with a transit project that will do nothing, except to give the impression that Vancouver is a world class city because it has a subway.

Comments

One Response to “Is TransLink Hiding Subway Costs?”
  1. Haveacow says:

    I know the situation for their (Ex LRT) North-East BRT line in London. They dropped LRT because it would be too expensive for this south-western Ontario city of 380,000. But make no bones about it, Zwei has a point, TUNNELS ARE EXPENSIVE! The problem in London is really a case of scope and or infrastructure creep.

    The original estimate wasn’t for an actual tunnel but a deep open cut that would have had several places were essentially bridges of various widths would be spanned across it. The width of the existing planned bridges grew as well as the number of new bridges until, someone said why don’t we just make it easy for ourselves and do a tunnel. The area of town where this cut was going to be is a very busy and extremely influential retail area of downtown London. An open cut was always going to be a big loser, especially with the local businesses and residents. As with most projects this early in the planning process the length of the tunnel wasn’t really set either until a few weeks ago (about 910 metres).

    So naturally the original budget was exceeded by 60% because it grew from being a medium deep open cut BRT right of way, with a small number of bridges to a full sized BRT tunnel possibly with possible allowances for a below grade station. With that kind of project creep I’m not surprised the budget estimate for this section, has now been exceeded by 60%.

    They have never done this before in London, I expected some missteps. They went from an early estimate for a network with 1 LRT line (The “L” Line) and 1 BRT line (The “7″ Line) back to just a 2 line BRT system. With no idea that this effects the width of the right of way of what was originally going to be the LRT line (BRT requires more width than LRT). In many places the exact final route and available right of way is still only a “possible location” to be worked on while the BRT system’s planning process continues on with more public meetings and design reviews. Expect more surprises to come from London Ontario!.

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