Rock to Road

Phyllis ready to start boring

March 21, 2023  By  Don Horne

Phyllis, the second of two tunnel-boring machines (TBMs) that are constructing twin tunnels for the Broadway Subway Project, broke through to the future Mount Pleasant Station early Saturday morning.

The custom-built, 150-metre-long machine is named after Phyllis Munday, a well-known nurse and mountaineer who founded the Girl Guides in British Columbia. Since departing from Great Northern Way last fall, Phyllis has excavated 725 metres of tunnel and 494 concrete liner rings have been installed along the new section of tunnel.

The Broadway Subway Project will extend the Millennium Line 5.7 kilometres from VCC-Clark Station to West Broadway and Arbutus Street, providing people with fast, convenient SkyTrain service along the Broadway corridor. The corridor is home to B.C.’s second-largest jobs centre, world-class health-care services, an emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities.

The project will result in faster travel, better access and fewer cars on the road in this heavily used corridor. Once in service, the trip from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Station will take 11 minutes, saving the average transit commuter approximately 30 minutes a day and relieving traffic congestion along Broadway.


The first TBM, named Elsie after notable B.C.-born aircraft designer Elizabeth (Elsie) MacGill, broke through at Mount Pleasant Station in late January 2023. Elsie began tunnelling toward the future Broadway-City Hall Station on March 4.

Progress continues to be made at the elevated guideway, where crews are installing girders to connect the 21 columns between VCC-Clark Station and the future Great Northern Way-Emily Carr Station. Excavation and construction of the station foundations are ongoing at the Broadway-City Hall, Oak-VGH, South Granville and Arbutus sites.

At these sites, traffic decks have been installed to keep people and vehicles moving along Broadway and to preserve access to this area as a transportation and retail corridor. Work on the project carries on below the traffic decks.

The project will support new transit-oriented developments, which will create efficient, connected communities where people can easily access public transit and have their day-to-day needs conveniently located close to home.

It is estimated the Broadway Subway Project will create more than 13,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction, supporting economic development within the region and beyond.

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