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SNC-led consortium wins contract to build new SkyTrain line

An artistic rendering of Douglas College station on the SkyTrain’s soon-to-begin-construction Evergreen Line.

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The provincial government has awarded a consortium led by SNC-Lavalin an $889-million contract to design, build and finance the long-awaited Evergreen Line extension to Coquitlam.

EGRT Construction will begin work on the seven-stop, 11-kilometre line next month. It will connect Coquitlam to the Millenium Line's Lougheed Town Centre station via Port Moody and Burnaby and consist of elevated and at-grade guideways and a two-kilometre tunnel. A trip from Coquitlam City Centre to Lougheed Town Centre will take about 15 minutes.

The Evergreen Line is expected to open in the summer of 2016, according to a news release from the province.

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The consortium includes three branches of SNC-Lavalin, Graham Building Services, International Bridge Technologies Inc., Jacobs Associates Canada Corporation, Rizzani de Eccher Inc., S.E.L.I. Canada Inc. and MMM Group Ltd. The project will create about 8,000 jobs during construction, according to the news release.

The news comes in the midst of an inquiry into allegations of corruption in Quebec's construction industry. Mounties and engineering insiders have testified that a number of Quebec's top firms, including Montreal-based SNC-Lavalin, bribed and sent kickbacks to political heads in exchange for engineering contracts. This includes SNC-Lavalin rewarding the son of late Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, Saadi, with more than $160-million in bribes in exchange for contracts in Libya, the RCMP allege.

The BC Ministry of Transportation said on a statement Tuesday that SNC-Lavalin has "a long-standing, successful history of partnering in major infrastructure projects in B.C." Its operations in the province are "business as usual," and the ministry had "done [its] due dilligence on the procurement," it said.

SNC-Lavalin has been involved in such B.C. projects as the Canada Line and the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement Project. The City of Ottawa has also tapped a SNC-Lavalin-led consortium for its $2.1-billion Confederation Line light rail transit project.

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