Warm, sunny weather is a welcome change for Vancouverites after a dreary winter, but it may be overshadowed by construction projects getting underway throughout the city causing traffic headaches for commuters.
The City of Vancouver’s General Manager of Engineering, Jerry Dobrovolny says this summer will be busier for construction than years past.
“There’s going to be more construction, there’s going to be more filming, there’s going to be more activity taking place on the street… There’s more activity than we’ve seen in past years”
Major projects this summer include work on the Burrard Street Corridor, SW Marine Drive, and the Pender Street water main replacement. Construction and closure on those routes are expected to cause major disruptions to traffic throughout the summer months.
In addition to those projects, there are also a number of utility projects, development sites, as well as 24 film productions currently proposed to film in the city.
Dobrovolny says that the construction taking place this summer doesn’t need to be a source of frustration for commuters.
“We’re going to great lengths to make information available to people. Then it’s easy to get downtown, and get back out of downtown. There doesn’t have to be frustration, but it requires some preparation on the public’s part, and it requires good coordination on our part. City staff need to do an effective job of sharing that information with the public.”
Year round construction
Because of the mild climate, Vancouver does have a longer construction window than many other Canadian cities, but that doesn’t cancel out a jump in projects as warm, dry weather arrives.
The city says most construction is done in the summer because it’s easier to complete.
“Even though we can carry on most construction twelve months a years, there’s still certain types of construction that can be conducted more efficiently, and much quicker in the summer.”
Road paving and line painting in particular are best suited to be done during the summer, rather than trying to work around the rain in winter.
Traffic woes for cyclists
Cyclists in the city won’t be getting off scott-free when it comes to construction and lane closures this summer.
There will be a series of bike upgrades throughout the downtown core. These upgrades will mainly be centered around the north end of the Cambie Street bridge on Cambie, Beatty, Smithe, and Nelson.
The bike lane upgrades have already started, and will continue for the next month or so. The city’s goal is to have the upgrades completed by the time the public bike share opens at the beginning of the summer.
The city will have alternate routes available for cyclists during this construction period.