After a years-long ‘temporary’ pilot project and significant disruptions to traffic due to various construction phases, the Burrard Street Bridge with its new configuration is set to fully reopen on the afternoon of Saturday, October 21.
There have been several different bridge alignments over the past decade, but this latest configuration is intended to last.
The $35-million project has further reduced the vehicle lanes on the bridge from five to four travel lanes to accommodate wider pedestrian and cycling lanes on both sides of the bridge.
However, approximately 150 metres of the bridge’s northbound direction has been widened to accommodate an additional right turn lane onto Pacific Street, as part of the intersection’s complete reconfiguration.
As well, there are now dual right turn lanes eastbound on Pacific Street onto the bridge.
Concrete barriers separating the bike lanes from the vehicles lanes are designed to blend in with the bridge’s art deco architecture.
Additionally, the bridge’s old deteriorating railings have been completely replaced with near-identical concrete railings that include suicide-prevention fencing and concrete pillars that support art deco-themed lamps.
There were initially some concerns over the aesthetics of the fencing, but the City worked with heritage preservation advocates and consultants to create a less bulky and visually intrusive fence design than those found on other bridges like the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge.
Up until 2009, the bridge was six lanes wide for vehicles. A reconfiguration of the intersection of the south end of the bridge was completed in 2014, and over the last two years much of Burrard Street from Davie Street to Pacific Street and Cornwall Street to West 16th Avenue was shuttered for water and sewer infrastructure upgrades.
According to the municipal government’s latest bike ridership data, 140,000 cyclists used the bridge in September 2017 – an increase from 133,000 in the same month in 2016 and 107,000 in the same month in 2009.
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