MNT: Burnaby

After crossing Burrard Inlet to Burnaby, the line would transition from overhead to underground. The transition structure would be built on BC Hydro-owned land south of Barnet Highway and some tree clearing would be required. From here the line would run underground along Barnet Highway in the eastbound curb lane, connecting to Sperling Avenue via Inlet Drive/Hastings Street. The line will continue south on Sperling then turn west onto Curtis/Parker Street to Gilmore Avenue. At Gilmore, the line will run south and enter Horne Payne Substation. The exact placement of the underground line in city streets is the subject of ongoing study.

Conceptual drawing of a cable termination station.
Conceptual drawing of a cable termination station.

Choosing a route through Burnaby City streets

The preferred route was identified based on feedback from the City of Burnaby to minimize construction impacts in residential neighbourhoods. The identified route considers cable length and bends, avoids streets that already have high utility congestion; avoids small, residential streets and commercial areas like The Heights on Hastings Street.

Minor upgrades would be made to the Horne Payne Substation and Barnard Substation as part of this project.

See our photo metric satellite map [PDF, 6.6 MB] of routes being studied through Burnaby.

Frequently asked questions

The site is now second-growth deciduous forest. For safety and constructability, tree and vegetation clearing at this site will be needed. We will be conducting additional studies as design advances to maximize vegetation retention and minimize disturbances in the area.

Burnaby landing site.
Burnaby landing site.

We understand that the Barnet Highway is a busy commuter route. If the project proceeds we're committed to managing traffic during construction to make sure that we minimize the impacts to people who use this road, and that people know what to expect during their commute.

It is important to note that construction work will not start until we receive approval from the BC Utilities Commission on our application for Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN). If approved, construction would start in 2019 at the earliest. Following is an overview of what construction on city streets would entail.

Undergrounding cable through city streets requires civil work to dig trenches and install duct banks below grade along the length of the road between manholes. Manholes will be installed every 800 metres of duct bank. Excavating, installation and backfill work is done on a block-by-block basis with each block taking approximately 5 to 8 days to complete.

Typical underground cable duct bank installation.
Typical underground cable duct bank installation.
Typical manhole installation
Typical manhole installation.

Throughout the work traffic management personnel will be onsite to ensure public and worker safety. While two lane closures are required, work can be completed during non-peak traffic hours and access to driveways is maintained.

Cables are pulled through installed duct banks once civil works are complete. Cable pulling from manhole to manhole takes one week. Cable segments are then joined at the manholes which takes two weeks per manhole.

Typical underground cable pull.
Typical underground cable pull.

Through Burnaby, the horizontal placement of the line in each section will vary depending on existing underground utilities. Directly above the line, the expected magnetic field level is 102 milligauss and it drops rapidly away from the line. Considering residential setback in the area is 6 metre or more, normal residential exposure levels are expected to be less than 25 milligauss.

Distance from centre of line (in metres) Magnetic field level (milligauss)
0 m 102 mG
2.5 m 59 mg
5 m 25 mG
10 m 8 mG
15 m 4 mG
20 m 2 mG


For more information on this subject, please see the Metro North Transmission - Burnaby magnetic profile [PDF, 82 KB].