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Downtown Vancouver driving to become messy with lane reductions starting Monday

Downtown Vancouver commuters warned to prepare for even more traffic headaches
The City of Vancouver is calling on commuter patience as a number of major infrastructure projects are set to get underway.

If you drive through downtown Vancouver on a regular basis, you may want to consider leaving the car at home starting Monday.

That’s when city engineering crews will begin replacing a 100-year-old water main along West Georgia Street between Thurlow and Howe streets, which will require lanes to be reduced until April 2020.

City of Vancouver set to begin major water main repairs in heart of downtown
City of Vancouver set to begin major water main repairs in heart of downtown

The city says a minimum of three traffic lanes — two westbound lanes and one eastbound lane — will be available to commuters during the work.

During rush hour, two lanes will be available in each direction.

READ MORE: Brace for congestion: Major water main work set for downtown Vancouver in January

But that’s not the only road work set to snarl traffic starting next week.

Work will also begin Monday on a new protected bike lane along Richards Street between Cordova and Pacific streets, providing a connection between existing bike networks in False Creek and Gastown.

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The city says work will be done in four to five-block segments until spring 2021, starting with a stretch between Cordova and Nelson streets.

During each phase, Richards Street will be reduced to just one lane of traffic. Businesses and residences will still be accessible along the route during construction, the city says.

A look at the proposed protected bike lane to be constructed along Richards Street in downtown Vancouver.
A look at the proposed protected bike lane to be constructed along Richards Street in downtown Vancouver. City of Vancouver

The city will also be installing storm water tree trenches and 100 new trees along the road, as well as improvements to intersections, traffic signals, sidewalks, street paving and one block of sewer infrastructure.

In addition, two new Mobi bike share stations will be installed on Richards Street.

The city says the new protected bike lane and green infrastructure will maintain 85 per cent of existing street parking along Richards.

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READ MORE: New separated bike lane for downtown Vancouver on the table

Monday will also see crews resume work on water main infrastructure along sections of Haro, Bute, Denman, Gilford and Chilco streets in the West End.

Construction is currently underway on Haro Street east of Denman street and within the 800-block of Gilford Street.

Traffic lanes and parking areas are being reduced to allow crews access to work areas.

And upgrade work is ongoing on the Granville Street Bridge, requiring the closure of some lanes at various times until work is completed next year.

In addition to the water main work on West Georgia, the city says Cadillac Fairview will also be doing road membrane work along Howe Street between Dunsmuir and Georgia streets starting in February.

That work is a part of the company’s revitalization of Pacific Centre. Cadillac Fairview will be conducting similar work on Georgia between Granville and Howe streets in May, construction which is expected to last until next October.

The city says a minimum of one lane will be maintained in each direction during the work, with three lanes opening in mid-summer.

Another Metro Vancouver neighbourhood forced to clean up from a water main break
Another Metro Vancouver neighbourhood forced to clean up from a water main break