Sign maintenance causes ridiculous traffic gridlock at YVR Airport (PHOTOS)

Jun 21 2022, 10:33 pm

The inbound direction for Grant McConachie Way — the main access road to reach the terminal buildings of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) — was bumper-to-bumper Monday evening.

There were social media reports of a two-km-long traffic jam on the roadway, with some reporting they were stuck in their vehicles, inching their way to the terminal building, for up to 45 minutes.

As it turns out, the delays were due to all terminal-bound vehicle traffic funnelling into one lane on Grant McConachie Way for maintenance crews to fix signage along the roadway.

In a tweet, the Vancouver Airport Authority stated that “once we became aware of the traffic delays, we dispatched personnel to have the crew cease their work and traffic resumed to normal.”

The maintenance workers were panned on social media for performing the disruptive work during an active period for flight departures and arrivals at YVR, which should have been performed during overnight or other off-peak hours.

The road traffic delays add to ongoing lengthy waits for security checkpoints once passengers arrive at YVR’s terminal building.

Social media reports on Tuesday evening showed the return of long lines for security, despite Canadian Air Transport Security Authority’s (CATSA) claim last week that its security staffing levels are back to normal pre-pandemic levels, and that security wait times at YVR have drastically improved. CATSA stated last week it had hired nearly 900 more CATSA screening officers across the country since April.

Federal agency CATSA manages the security staffing levels of Canadian airports, not the local airport authorities like YVR. The delays are due to a combination of a lack of staff following the pandemic layoffs, and complaints by the remaining workers over poor working conditions as a result of the reduced size of the labour force.

But the conditions on Tuesday clearly show there are still major issues with security at Canadian airports, and departures passengers should still arrive earlier than usual as a precaution — at least three hours before international flights and at least two hours before domestic flights. This continues to be the recommendation of the Vancouver Airport Authority.

The labour issues are also compounded by skyrocketing passenger traffic growth, with YVR now recording more than 50,000 passengers daily — and this figure is expected to further grow later this summer, returning to normal pre-pandemic traffic volumes, years earlier than originally anticipated for post-pandemic recovery.

As a result, the proper maintenance and service levels at YVR, which were greatly reduced at the height of pandemic-stricken depressed passenger volumes, now appear to be struggling with catching up with the pace of passenger growth.

“We are sorry to hear about your bad experience at our airport today. We hope that in the coming months the 100+ companies that work within the airport environment will be able to get back to pre-pandemic levels to meet demand. Until then, we thank you for your patience,” reads a tweet by Vancouver Airport Authority.

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