Lower Mainland System Upgrades

Vancouver to Coquitlam natural gas lines upgrades

About this project

We’re upgrading our natural gas lines in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Surrey. The Lower Mainland natural gas system supplies natural gas to more than 700,000 FortisBC customers throughout the Lower Mainland, Squamish, Whistler, the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.

These upgrades will improve the safety and reliability of our system and provide greater operational flexibility so we can best meet the current and future needs of our customers. That means if a line is impacted in one place, your gas will keep flowing to keep the heat on.

In 2017, we’ll be doing a variety of pre-construction activities in Burnaby, along Broadway from Gaglardi Way to Bainbridge Avenue, to prepare for natural gas line construction, which will start in 2018.

The construction will upgrade sections of our natural gas lines in Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam. The work will take place in existing natural gas line corridors.

Why we're replacing the gas line

We’re replacing a section of our gas line between our Coquitlam station and our East 2nd Avenue and Woodland Drive station in Vancouver because the existing line is nearing the end of its useful life. The upgrade will replace a 20-kilometre section of our existing 20-inch gas line with 30-inch gas line. Additionally, we’ll replace 300 meters of gas line in south Vancouver to provide additional seismic resilience to our natural gas system.

We’re also planning to construct approximately 97 metres of 30-inch natural gas line through a private property in the City of Vancouver west of Boundary Road.  Construction is expected to start in July 2017 and be complete by September.

Upgrading the system will ensure we’re able to meet the needs of the 210,000 customers who rely on it to deliver natural gas to their homes and businesses – now, and well into the future.

Traffic updates

Vancouver to Coquitlam map illustration

During pre-construction later in the year, you can expect some traffic delays along Broadway in Burnaby. We’ll post upcoming notifications here so you can plan your commute in advance. For specific updates on construction activities in your area, some of which may impact traffic, refer to the Updates page. We encourage you to sign-up for our newsletter, participate in upcoming public information sessions and follow us on Twitter @FortisBC for regular updates.

Pre-construction activities: 2017

Vancouver Construction update

Construction activities from June – August 2017

Pending approval from the British Columbia Oil & Gas Commission, we’re installing approximately 97 metres of 30-inch natural gas line across a private property and 1st Avenue at Boundary Road.

This includes:

  • a 9 metre by  67 metre area south of Graveley Street, west of Boundary Road and onto 1st Avenue
  • a 35 metre by 40 metre area  on East 1st Avenue, west of Boundary Road

Construction is expected to begin mid-June and be complete by end of August. 

Safety first

Safety is our number one priority. We have rigorous plans in place to ensure the safety and security of the public, our natural gas system, the environment and our employees.

We have a comprehensive approach to safety, with regular inspections and maintenance. Our transmission and distribution pipeline system continues to have an excellent safety record, and we renew and upgrade our system in accordance with Canadian codes and standards.

Jobs and procurement opportunities

FortisBC wants to maximize the benefit of our projects in the community. Opportunities to create local jobs, opportunities for aboriginal communities and other local economic benefits always shape our approach to our projects.

If you’re interested in providing goods or services for any of our current projects, or for future opportunities, please complete the Contractors and Vendors form.

Clearing complete on right-of-way between Underhill Avenue and Production Way

We’ve completed a temporary restoration of the area around the trail. We’re committed to restoring and improving the trail and replacing invasive species with native plants. A more extensive trail restoration will be done following the installation of the new natural gas line in 2018.

The section of Burnaby Mountain Urban Trail that runs between Underhill Avenue and Production Way trail is now open—and will remain open until the summer, when further closures will be required for additional vegetation clearing activities.

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Vegetation clearing on right-of-way between Underhill Avenue and Production Way

In preparation of gas line construction, we cleared vegetation along an existing right of way on Broadway, from Underhill Avenue to Production Way, in Burnaby. The clearing work is required to extend culverts on three streams along the route and to provide safe access for workers and equipment when construction begins.

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Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an information session to discuss the project and answer questions about early construction activities.

Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an information session to discuss the project and answer questions about early construction activities.

information session

Detailed engineering studies start

Upon approval from the British Columbia Utilities Commission, we created detailed studies of the precise gas line route. These studies take into account other buried utilities, like water mains. They also consider community impacts, the materials we’ll use, and construction specifications. We began procuring materials, in addition to a number of construction planning activities that are underway.

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British Columbia Utilities Commission approval

Based on feedback from the public and municipalities, the proposed route is revised in April 2015, with 25 per cent of alignment re-routed based on public feedback. Six months later and with the determination made that the project is in the public interest, the British Columbia Utilities Commission grants a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the project.

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Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an information session in Burnaby to discuss the project and answer questions.

Completion of early engineering studies

Early engineering studies involve preliminary designs to support an application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission. This includes studies of the general area to select a preferred route, initial designs of the pipeline and valve stations, and cost estimates to support the application.

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Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an information session in Burnaby to discuss the project and answer questions. 

Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an initial information session in Vancouver to discuss the project and answer questions

Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an initial information session in Burnaby to discuss the project and answer questions.

Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an initial information session in Burnaby to discuss the project and answer questions.

Public information session

FortisBC representatives host an initial information session in Coquitlam to discuss the project and answer questions.

Keeping you informed

We’re committed to keeping the public informed about the gas line replacement project every step of the way. Over the past few years, we’ve shared information with municipalities, property owners, businesses, Aboriginal communities and residents.

We’ll continue to communicate directly with municipalities, business owners and residents affected by the project and provide opportunities to share feedback and ask questions throughout construction. More information sessions will be held this spring to provide an update on the second phase of pre-construction activities planned for later in 2017.

Environmental management

Environmental consultants have been working with us at every stage of the project to help protect vegetation, fish and wildlife and their habitat. We’ve developed a comprehensive environmental management plan to protect the natural environment and qualified environmental professionals will be on site to provide environmental monitoring during construction. We are committed to working in an environmentally sensitive manner and to the highest environmental standards. Pre-construction work will be done before the bird nesting season and within the fisheries windows. 

How the Vancouver to Coquitlam Upgrade project is creating jobs and economic opportunities for BC

More than $13.2 million to date in committed local spending and significant benefits across the region.

Economic and employment benefits

socio economic benefits infographic

We want to maximize the benefits of our projects in the community. To date, $13.2 million has been spent on this project with 46 local vendors and suppliers in 10 communities, including Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey and Richmond.

We have had involvement with vendors and suppliers from nine local communities working on the project so far, including:

  • surveyors
  • engineers
  • environmental and archaeological consultants

Get to know what we do

Meet the members of our team and learn more about the project.

Meet project manager Melanie Kilpatrick

project manager Melanie

For Melanie Kilpatrick, project manager for the Vancouver to Coquitlam gas line upgrade, some of her favourite aspects of her job include working in a team environment and helping to bring it all together. Project managers on major construction projects have traditionally been men – less than 13 per cent of all practicing engineers in Canada are women - but Melanie says FortisBC looks to provide opportunities and recognize expertise whenever possible. See our profile on Melanie.

Natural gas line safety

Our natural gas system has an excellent safety record thanks to regular inspections, maintenance and upgrades. But what does that involve? We asked Fred Young, FortisBC’s Vancouver pipeline transmission manager and a 37-year industry veteran, to tell us more. See our Q&A with Fred.

gas line sign

Investing in our local communities

We believe in supporting organizations that help build safe and caring communities within our service areas.

Partnerships within Vancouver and Coquitlam

As part of the Lower Mainland System Upgrades, we continue to raise awareness of the projects and strengthen partnerships that exist within the communities. In 2016, we invested in our local communities and provided sponsorships, including the Giro de Burnaby community event.