VANCOUVER -- The City of Vancouver released Monday its proposed design for a major facelift to the Granville Street Bridge.

Earlier on in the project, the city asked the public for feedback on six options for the aging infrastructure.

Thousands responded through surveys from the city, and a winning option will be put forward by city staff.

Reason for the redesign

The eight-lane bridge was built about 65 years ago to connect high-speed, high-volume highways which were never built.

"As a result, the bridge has significant excess road capacity," a report published last January said

"Even if each of the streets feeding the bridge were full, the bridge itself would be relatively empty."

And the bridge is in need of repair. Debris was reported to have fallen from the connector multiple times in the last year.

Chunks of steel up to four centimetres in length were reported to have fallen from the beams overhead onto Granville Island – a destination popular with tourists. 

Winning design

The winning design was nicknamed "West Side Plus" when the city asked for public input on six options in September. 

The city said the design was "by far the most popular option," and that staff took the public's ideas into account.

Granville Street Bridge

It includes a west sidewalk and bi-directional bike lane on the west side of the bridge.

There will be a wide, accessible sidewalk on the east side, and a ramp from and to Hemlock Street below.

A "relatively flat" bike lane on the Fir Street Ramp to 10th Avenue will accommodate cyclists in both directions. New signal lights will be installed at the ramp crossings on Howe and Fir streets.

The new design will offer views to the east and west, and provide an area of up to two metres which could be used for seating, art installations and more.

Granville Street Bridge

The "challenges" flagged by the city in the fall are that drivers could face delays around Fir Street, and that there was less room on the pedestrian pathway for public space, when compared to other models.

At an estimated cost between $30 million and $40, it's one of the most expensive designs put forward.

"The design leaves the bridge with enough capacity to accommodate transit vehicles and motorists," the city said in a statement.

Granville Street Bridge

Staff also heard safety concerns from the public.

"In 2016, 18,000 residents and 17,000 jobs were within a five-minute walk of Granville Bridge and 90,000 residents and 125,000 jobs were within a five-minute bike ride," the statement said.

"Despite being a direct route to and from downtown, few people bike or use the bridge's sidewalks because they feel unsafe and uncomfortable or because it's not accessible."

The design being put forward, the city says, will include safety measures such as improved ramp crossings and connections to the rest of the area's cycling and walking routes.

Granville Street Bridge


Next steps

The design will be presented in the spring, along with a breakdown of construction by phase. The first phase of work will be suggested to begin in the next two years – within the 2019-22 capital budget.

That budget already includes $25 million for the Granville Bridge Connector, the city said.

Meanwhile, the public is asked to provide feedback on the design starting Friday at an open house or online. Details on the open houses are available on the city's website.

The survey, posted here, will be open from Jan. 24 to Feb. 10.

All images from the City of Vancouver