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Viaduct technical findings report to Council available to public

October 7 2015

The Future of Vancouver’s viaducts: in-depth

The technical findings report on the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts that staff will present to Vancouver City Council on October 20 is now available to the public.

These studies establish a technical foundation on which staff are confident in recommending to Council the removal of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaduct and the creation of a new, seismically-sound road network that can accommodate 100% of today’s traffic demand. This new system would lay the foundation to deliver on a number of key City building objectives associated with access to parks, affordable housing, sustainability and active transportation.

Key findings of the report include:

  • An at-grade road network is 5-10 times less expensive to maintain.
  • It would cost $65 million to upgrade the viaducts to be seismically sound.
  • The viaducts were built to accommodate approximately 1,800 vehicles per lane per hour, but only carry 750 vehicles per lane per hour during rush hour. 
  • An at-grade road network would be able to accommodate 100% of today’s traffic volume, and can be designed to handle future traffic volumes more efficiently
  • An at-grade road network is more flexible. Emergency vehicles do not currently use the viaducts because it is a closed network — if there is a traffic jam, they have no alternative routes.
  • Over the last 20 years, vehicle traffic into the downtown has declined by 20 per cent.
  • Only 10 per cent of all cars driving to/from the downtown drive over the viaducts. When considering all modes of transportation – walking, cycling, transit, driving – only 6 per cent of all people travelling to/from the downtown will drive a vehicle over the viaducts to access downtown.

Additionally, the removal of the viaducts present unique opportunities, including:

  • A 13% increase in park space in the area. This amount of park space would be prohibitively expensive to purchase but in this case can be reclaimed from already-owned City land.
  • Northeast False Creek will be developed regardless of whether the viaducts come down. Viaduct removal provides the opportunity to turn Northeast False Creek into a dynamic, healthy and connected space. 
  • The removal of the viaducts will allow for communities such as Main Street to reconnect, and will reconnect surrounding neighbourhoods such Crosstown, Chinatown and Strathcona to the downtown core and waterfront. 
  • The creation of affordable housing and new zoning for shops in some of the area currently taken over by the viaducts.

Download the staff report here that will be considered by Council this fall:

More information and other technical reports can be found online at vancouver.ca/viaducts.