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Drivers beware: City of Vancouver unveils major road projects starting this spring and summer

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WATCH: The City of Vancouver has unveiled the areas drivers will want to avoid this summer because of construction and road work. Sarah MacDonald has the details – Mar 7, 2019

Be prepared to see several roadblocks and closed pedestrian crossings throughout Vancouver this spring and summer.

On Thursday, the city unveiled its plans for several major projects and road upgrades planned to start by April or May, and the list of potential traffic hotspots is a long one. That has the city’s engineering manager warning drivers to plan well in advance before heading onto the streets.

“You might be taking a 10-minute trip or a 30-minute trip, and either of those is fine,” Jerry Dobrovolny said. “The frustration comes when you think it’s a 10-minute trip and it ends up taking 30 minutes.”

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Roughly 30 kilometres of upgrades are expected across the city’s network, including 13 kilometres of water and sewer main work. The upgrades are mostly focused on modernizing the city’s underground network and improving pedestrian access, including sidewalk improvements.

READ MORE: Businesses along 1st Avenue struggling due to full road closure

The projects will also be focused on north-south routes, which the city says will act as a balance to last year’s gas line upgrades along East First Avenue, which runs east to west.

Dobrovolny promised this year’s roadwork won’t be as painful to drivers as that project, saying it will be phased throughout the coming months in ways that will give commuters plenty of detours.

Below is a snapshot of the major projects planned:

Nanaimo Street

Courtesy City of Vancouver.

Sewer main upgrades that began this past February will continue between McGill Street and Fourth Avenue. The work is being done in segments starting at McGill Street in the north and heading south.

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The city is also taking the opportunity to improve street safety in the area by updating lighted crosswalks and traffic signals and installing a painted bike lane.

Road repaving and sidewalk repairs will also be undertaken as necessary.

The work is set to be completed in spring 2020.

Granville Street Bridge

Courtesy City of Vancouver.

Work will begin on structural and seismic upgrades to the historic bridge, including repairing the concrete and steel and replacing the expansion joints and bearings. The work is set to last until 2021.

The upgrades are removed from debates on the future of the bridge deck, which has seen proposals of up to four centre lanes converted into a mixed-use biking and walking path.

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READ MORE: City of Vancouver looking at slashing number of car lanes on Granville Bridge

Quebec Street

The work set to start near Second Avenue and Science World is the second phase of the revitalization of the street, which began with overhauling the sidewalks, bike lanes and parking at First Avenue.

This time, crews are heading underground to expand the pipe network used to heat Olympic Village in order to service other parts of the False Creek area. Street and sidewalk upgrades will also take place at the same time, with work set to complete in spring 2020.

Boundary Road

Courtesy City of Vancouver.

Boundary Road is where much of the water main repair work will take place, spanning the stretch from East First Avenue to Grandview Highway.

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The streets and sidewalks will once again be rehabilitated, along with safety improvements, including traffic signal upgrades at East First Avenue and Lougheed Highway. Street lights will also be replaced.

The work is set to finish by early 2020.

West End

Courtesy City of Vancouver.

Work to replace the aging water infrastructure below Haro and Bute streets will lead to major disruptions in the close-knit neighbourhood.

Safety improvements will also be made along sections of Haro, Bute, Denman, Guildford and Chilco streets.

Work will start on Robson Street between Chilco and Guildford streets and is set to be completed by next summer.

MacDonald Street

Courtesy City of Vancouver.

The stretch from West First Avenue to 16 Avenue will see sewer and street infrastructure improvements, which are being co-ordinated with trolley bus wire relocations to be done by TransLink ahead of the planned construction of the Broadway subway.

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The work is expected to last until spring 2020.

READ MORE: Vancouver launches consultations on Broadway subway plan

Other projects

The city also used the briefing to warn about roughly 150 filming projects slated to be underway in Vancouver by September, as well as the dozens of street festivals that happen every year.

“It’s going to be another busy year,” Dubrovolny said. “But we are working to minimize the impact to commuters.”

Full details of the various projects can be found on the city’s website.

—With files from Sarah MacDonald

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