Traffic headaches to come: Vancouver's construction schedule revealed
Vancouver's spring-summer construction plan will cause headaches for nearly anyone driving through the city from April to August.
Drivers who rely on an already congested artery into and out of the city will be squeezed into a single lane of traffic in either direction, then cut off entirely, as crews replace an aging gas line on East 1st Avenue.
Scroll down or click here to view this and other construction projects on an interactive map.
FortisBC will be working on the avenue that links East Vancouver to Highway 1 and Burnaby starting mid-month.
Those taking 1st between Nanaimo Street and Boundary Road will be impacted by partial lane closures in short sections, about the length of one block, at a time. As crews prepare for construction, traffic will be down to one lane in each direction in the sections they're working on.
Construction is scheduled to begin halfway through May, at which time the single-lane sections will expand to an area of six blocks. The work is expected to take until winter.
The area between Clark Drive and Nanaimo will be closed completely from late June until the end of August, FortisBC says.
"It's very important that the city continue to function – it will continue to function," the city's chief engineer said at a news conference Thursday.
Jerry Dobrovolny encouraged those affected by the project and other construction-related closures to walk, bike or take transit.
"It will be different, so that will be the key, is that people adjust as conditions require," he said.
Doug Stout, FortisBC's vice-president of market development and external relations, acknowledged local businesses such as those on Commercial Drive have expressed concerns that a major closure could keep customers away.
"We've already been in contact with a number of them and looking at events we can do, we purchased gift cards from businesses that have them to distribute to customers, those type of things," Stout said.
"Each one is a little bit different so we're going to work through that and it'll be an ongoing process."
The 60-year-old, 20-kilometre-long gas line stretches from Vancouver to Coquitlam. The majority of work on the project will take place in Burnaby along Broadway from Underhill Avenue to Production Way, FortisBC says.
During construction, Burnaby will see partial and full closures on Graveley Street, Douglas Road, Lougheed Highway and Broadway at different times between the spring and fall of this year. Some lanes of Como Lake Avenue in Coquitlam will be closed during construction scheduled for 2019.
The gas line supplies about 210,000 customers, FortisBC says.
Other closures planned for construction and events
Those who rely on routes affected by the gas line project won't be the only drivers dealing with closures this construction season.
About 15 kilometres of street network, eight kilometres of water mains and five kilometres of sewer mains will be upgraded this spring and summer, the city said.
Scroll down or click here to view the construction projects on an interactive map.
Fraser Street water and sewer upgrades have already started on the section between King Edward and East 33rd Avenue, and are expected to take until late summer. The city will also be installing a new pedestrian crossing signal.
Downtown, upgrades to water, sewer and street infrastructure could affect those who use Smithe Street between Homer and Beatty streets until summer.
New sidewalks, traffic signal, street lights, parking spots and protected bike lanes could cause issues in the area of Quebec Street and 1st Avenue until late summer.
And sections of East 39th Avenue, 40th Avenue, Prince Albert Street and St. Catherines Street will be affected by construction as the city works to replace sewer infrastructure with a larger capacity system. This project, with a life expectancy of 100 years, could take until September.
Those who use 10th Avenue or facilities in the area may be impacted by a series of projects including efforts to improve patient access to hospitals and routine water and street upgrades.
And several events will close city streets temporarily between April and August, including the Vaisakhi and Earth Day Parades and the Vancouver Sun Run, all scheduled this month. Sections of Vancouver streets will also be closed for the BMO Half Marathon, Italian Day, Car Free Days, Greek Day, the Scotiabank Half Marathon, Canada Day, Khatsahlano Street Party, Honda Celebration of Light, Pride Parade and Our City Ride.
To help cope with construction, Vancouver is updating its rush hour and bus lane regulations along Broadway and Hastings Street, extending restrictions in the morning by 30 minutes and evening by one hour. Bus lane and parking restrictions will be in effect from 7 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. starting in the spring.
Rush hour regulations on Georgia Street are expected to change later this year, and other major routes will be reviewed.
Those wondering about road closures or construction in their neighbourhood can click the map below to visit the City of Vancouver's dedicated traffic page. The page includes temporary closures for filming and private development as well as municipal construction projects and events.