Vancouver commuters, take note: 1st Avenue road closures kick in as gas line upgraded

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WATCH: Partial road closures have begun along East 1st Avenue in Vancouver and the situation for drivers will only get worse as summer starts. Paul Johnson reports – May 27, 2018

Time to rethink your route if you typically drive along 1st Avenue.

Starting Saturday evening, barricades and detours will be up along Rupert and Nanaimo streets, and between the Highway 1 overpass and Boundary Road.

The closures are being done so that FortisBC can put in a new gas line.

FortisBC spokesperson Grace Pickell says by Sunday, it will be down to one lane in each direction on East 1st Avenue.

“Expect this work to take place from this weekend throughout the summer, and there will still be the full road closure from Nanaimo to Clark that will take place July 3 to August 31.”

Keep in mind some side streets in those areas will also be closed to control traffic.

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Businesses in the impacted areas will remain open as the work takes place.

There will also be lane closures in Burnaby, on Gilmore Avenue from Graveley Street to First Avenue, and also along Douglas Road, south of Carleton Avenue.

These closures are expected to go until the end of June.

READ MORE: High number of natural gas line hits concerns FortisBC

The current 20-kilometre natural gas line, which runs from Vancouver to Coquitlam, was built in 1958, and FortisBC says the time has come to replace it to “ensure safe and reliable service to 210,000 customers in the Lower Mainland.”

“We know there will be congestion, so we appreciate commuters’ patience and encourage them to plan for extra time to reach their destinations,” FortisBC vice-president Douglas Stout said back in April.

Pre-construction activities first started on the upgrade in the spring of 2017, with construction beginning May 24.

READ MORE: FortisBC to slash natural gas rates in 2018

FortisBC also says the current facilities at Mariner Way and Spuraway Avenue in Coquitlam, and at East 2nd Avenue and Woodland Drive in Vancouver will also be getting some improvements.

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The upgrades to the gas line are expected to be completed by late 2019.

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