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Council votes to proceed with plans to remove Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts

October 27 2015

The Future of Vancouver’s viaducts: in-depth

City Council voted on Tuesday, October 27 to proceed with plans to remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts. The decision follows a four year process that involved extensive studies of traffic patterns, seismic safety, park configuration, and financing options.

Planning and land negotiations to begin

Tuesday's decision directs staff to initiate detailed planning and land negotiations on the basis of the viaducts being removed. Staff will report back to Council within 18 months or less on a revised public benefits strategy as well as an update on negotiations.

The viaducts will be replaced with a new two-way ramp connecting Georgia Street with a new two-way, six lane Pacific Boulevard. By being at ground level, the new road network will be more resilient and reliable for goods movement and emergency service vehicles going in and out of the downtown core. Traffic analysis shows that there is an expected 10% decrease of traffic along Prior Street in Strathcona.

Opportunities for housing

The removal of the viaducts will free up two city-owned blocks of land located immediately east and west of Main Street between Prior and Union. These blocks are covered by the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan, which provides an opportunity for a mix of market and non-market housing.

Timeline

Since June 2013, there have been 38 stakeholder meetings and 13 open houses on the viaducts.

Council heard from more than 50 speakers over the course of two days. Notable supporters of the removal of the viaducts include the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association and the Vancouver Public Space Network.

Following the completion of detailed planning and design work, and the necessary agreements to advance removal of the viaducts, construction could start in late 2017, and be complete by 2020.