City unveils plan to revamp Burrard Street Bridge
The City of Vancouver is proposing some major changes to the Burrard Street Bridge.
The city is proposing bringing back a pedestrian sidewalk on the bridge's east side by removing a northbound traffic lane.
The project is also looking to improve safety at the Burrard and Pacific intersection, with the city claiming it has the second-highest accident rate in the city.
The work has been estimated to cost about $20 million to repair the bridge's railings and sidewalks with an additional $10 million to upgrade the intersection.
The bridge currently has bike lanes on either side as well as a pedestrian path on the west side. However, planners are hoping to make the bridge a bit more pedestrian friendly.
A sidewalk was replaced with a bike lane and an additional bike lane was installed in 2009.
"It's a big project, it's an expensive project, but we want to get it right," said Lon LaClaire, the city's transportation director.
LaClaire said even though there will be one fewer lane available to cars, traffic flow won't be affected.
Most of the bridge's northbound traffic issues are caused by a backlog of traffic at the Burrard Street and Pacific Street intersection, says LaClaire. That issue will be solved with the addition of a second right turn lane at the intersection.
The renovations would also require the demolition of the old Kettle of Fish building, which is currently used as a homeless shelter.
“I’m going to be interested to see the final report but at this point it seems hard to believe there won’t be congestion in the middle of the bridge,” said Councillor George Affleck.
An open house will be held on June 6 and 16 for the public to give feedback on the designs. City council is expected to vote on the issue by mid-July.
Construction on the bridge is expected to start in 2016 and last 18 months.