Construction at the Metrotown SkyTrain station has left commuters with no choice but to take the stairs for the next few months.

Starting today the overhead walkway connecting to the mall and bus loop to the busy station will be permanently closed.

It's not an ideal situation. - TransLink spokesperson Chris Bryan

The closure means there will be no escalator access at the station. TransLink closed the only elevator at the station in March 2015.

Now customers will only be able to exit the platform via stairs and to access the mall and bus loop, they will have to cross Central Boulevard.

Metrotown stairs

These are the new stairs leading out of the station. There is no escalator access at the station anymore and the only elevator was shut down a year ago. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

The changes come as part of a years-long project to upgrade the station and improve accessibility. Construction is expected to be finished in spring 2017.

Morning commuters at the station had mixed feelings about the closures with some saying they understood the need for station improvements and others unhappy about having to use the stairs.

"It's going to be painful because I work 12 hour shifts on my feet and now there's more stairs for me to climb," said commuter Doug Lewington.

Metrotown commuters

SkyTrain commuters who wish to go to the mall or bus loop from Metrotown station will now have to cross Central Boulevard. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

Ahmed Osaka, a BCIT student on crutches, got down the stairs hopping on one foot.

"Right now, it's terrible to be honest," he said. "Hopefully it gets better."

Chris Bryan, a spokesperson for TransLink, said he knew the closures would inconvenience passengers — especially before the busy holiday shopping season — but this was the best option.

"It's not an ideal situation ... We had an option of closing the station altogether or trying to keep it open so we've chosen that latter option," he said.

Bryan said they are hoping to have a new overpass by the time construction is completed.

Metrotown Overhead walkway

The overhead walkway at Metrotown station which connects the SkyTrain station to the mall and bus loop is permanently closed today. (Margaret Gallagher/CBC)

For customers with accessibility issues TransLink said HandyDART and Community shuttles will continue to run between SkyTrain stations.

TransLink is advising commuters heading to Metrotown SkyTrain station in Burnaby to factor in an additional five to 10 minutes of travel time.

With files from The Early Edition and Farrah Merali