A major downtown Vancouver SkyTrain station will shut down for two years, forcing riders to find alternative ways to commute, as TransLink prepares to upgrade the decades-old Burrard Station.
In a statement Tuesday, the transit authority said starting in early 2022, the station will close completely in order to upgrade the 36-year-old infrastructure.
It says the closure is necessary to allow crews to more safely and efficiently upgrade the station than if it were to remain partially open during construction.
"These upgrades will greatly improve the customer experience, and as the region prepares to welcome one million new residents by the year 2050, this important project allows us to be prepared for additional future demand," said TransLink interim CEO Gigi Chen-Kuo.
The work includes doubling the number of escalators and elevators at the station, relocating the Burrard Street entrance and redesigning the station's outdoor plaza.
Entrances are hard to access, and the station will require upgrades to the electrical equipment in order to meet the power demands of the new station.
Crews will also upgrade the station's power supply and mechanical systems,.
Burrard Station was originally built in 1985 ahead of Expo 86 as part of the original Expo Line.
TransLink says the station is the fourth busiest on the SkyTrain network, with more than 7.6 million boardings in 2019 alone.
It plans to work with the City of Vancouver and local businesses and residents to minimize impacts while the work is completed.
The Waterfront and Granville stations can accommodate the additional passenger flow during the closure, and additional bus service will be added in the area to help minimize the impact, according to the statement.
Its HandyDART bus service will remain largely the same throughout the construction period, and customers connecting to the Expo Line will have access at Waterfront Station, TransLink said.