Granville Bridge seismic and structural upgrades means delays for Vancouver commuters

Click to play video: 'Seismic upgrades to Granville bridge begin today'
Seismic upgrades to Granville bridge begin today
If you're taking the Granville bridge over the next several weeks expect some delays. City crews are beginning repair work on the ageing span. Jennifer Palma has more on the upgrades and how it will impact traffic – Oct 28, 2019

Seismic and structural upgrades on the Granville Bridge deck begin Monday, and at least one Granville Island business owner says the work can’t come soon enough.

Construction is set to get underway in the morning on the south approach, the latest move for an upgrade project that’s been underway since last fall.

The city says commuters can expect delays due to the work, which will require the closure of two central lanes in both directions and one lane on the Hemlock Ramp.

Click to play video: 'Pieces of metal falling from Granville Bridge'
Pieces of metal falling from Granville Bridge

In late November, crews will move to the Seymour ramp at the north end of the bridge and the Fourth Avenue off-ramp, which will lead to additional closures.

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Replacements of the expansion joints will then continue on different sections along the bridge deck in the centre and curb lanes until work is completed in late 2020.

The city says the work on the aging span, which was first built in 1954, also includes replacing bearings and repairing concrete and steel throughout the structure.

The bridge sees 65,000 vehicle trips daily along with 25,000 bus crossings. It also shelters Granville Island, where business owners have complained about chunks of falling steel for years.

David McCann, general manager of the four-building Creekhouse Industries complex on the island, says he’s reported the issue at least once a year for the past six years, most recently in July.

“The current pieces that came off were some of the the largest,” he said Sunday. “Even two inches by three inches can either hurt you or kill you, but in the past five or 10 years there’s been larger pieces, two, three feet.”

Click to play video: 'City of Vancouver unveils plans for Granville Bridge'
City of Vancouver unveils plans for Granville Bridge

Other instances in the past include one where a large piece of the bridge hit the roof of the Sandbar in September 2014. Another large piece smashed a visitor’s car windshield in May of that year.

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McCann says city crews have responded after each complaint, and are now ensuring the metal doesn’t fall on the island again.

The city is proposing major changes to the bridge that would make it more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.

Six different design proposals were released last month, all of which propose the elimination of two lanes of vehicle traffic. Open houses and online feedback in September allowed the public to weigh in on the ideas.

The city will review feedback over the fall, with a council decision expected in early 2020. Construction would begin in 2021, pending approval and the development of a detailed plan.

With files from Simon Little

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