Canada Line transit project nearly done: report
There's good news for transit riders, future Olympic visitors and the Cambie Street businesses who have been squeezed by years of construction on the new Canada Line rapid transit system.
According to the latest quarterly report from the Canada Line office, construction on the project is 80 per cent complete.
Though there is still work going on in some areas, much of Cambie Street is getting back to normal.
That's welcome news for businesses that have taken serious financial hits or even been forced to move because construction prompted a drop in customers.
"We know we're dropping quite a bit, but we've been here a long time so we're still surviving finally, but it's passed so what can we do?" said Julie Tsui of Julie's Hair Design.
"We just look forward, what else can we think?" she said.
The Canada Line is the name for a rapid SkyTrain-type project that would take passengers between Richmond, the Vancouver International Airport, and downtown Vancouver.
The $1.9-billion project is expected to begin service in 2009.
With much of the heavy lifting and heavy digging done, the focus is now on the finishing stages such as work on the Canada Line stations.
"As we move forward through the fall, what we'll do is start covering over those station boxes and giving those areas back to the city," said Alan Dever, Vice President of the Canada Line project.
"We're hoping that over the next six months or so we should be back to Cambie Street the way it was -- only an improved Cambie Street," he said.
Another next step is to test trains along the Fraser River Bridge and on the elevated guideway through Richmond, he said.
That will happen this fall, although it's expected it will be more than a year before the trains are ready to accept paying customers.
Still, the community is divided as to whether the sacrifices over the past two years were worth it.
"They did a good job. It was very painful, but they did a good job and they were working very fast so I'm happy, it looks very nice," said one person to CTV News.
"The street has become nice, but it's been quite disruptive for the companies and the restaurants," said another person.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Stephen Smart