Water main upgrades planned for downtown Vancouver starting next month

Drivers heading through downtown Vancouver in the new year had better pack some patience with planned water main work on one of the city’s main thoroughfares slated to begin in January.

Starting on Jan. 6, engineering crews will begin replacing a critical water main along West Georgia Street between Thurlow and Howe. Lanes will be reduced along these blocks until the project is completed in April, ahead of the annual Sun Run.

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“The City is asking commuters to plan ahead and to expect delays as it manages traffic impacts from water main and third party construction work,” the city said in an information bulletin sent out Thursday.

The current water main was installed almost 100 years ago, has reached the end of its service life and has a history of frequent breaks. Crews will be installing 375 metres of new water main in three phases between Howe and Thurlow streets.

“The new water main will last about 100 years and contribute to a more seismically resilient water network.”

Traffic impacts include:

  • A minimum of three lanes of traffic will be maintained in areas where construction is occurring — two lanes westbound and one lane eastbound.
  • During rush hour, two lanes in each direction will normally be maintained.
  • Throughout construction, traffic lanes will be opened to the travelling public as soon as it’s feasible to do so.

The city has 1,489 kilometres of water pipes valued at $2.4 billion. In 2019, the city replaces 9.6 kilometres of water pipes, and another 13.4 kilometres will be replaced in 2020, including upgrades that support growth.

To address pipe deterioration, the city said, the average annual replacement rate is being increased from 7.5 kilometres of new pipes to 10.5 kilometres.

For more information about the project visit vancouver.ca/georgia-water-main.

Pacific Centre road work

Beginning in February, Cadillac Fairview will start road membrane work along Howe Street between Dunsmuir and Georgia, as part of its renewal of Pacific Centre. In May, the work will move to Georgia between Granville and Howe streets. That work will continue until October.

One lane in each direction between Granville and Howe will be retained at all times during the first phase of construction, with three lanes opening up in mid-summer. 

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