It seemed for a time that the Burrard Street Bridge was going to be under construction indefinitely, but the 80-something-year-old structure has finally been completely reopened for public use.
The rehabilitation started back in 2014 when safety and structural repairs were made. Two years later, a larger second phase got underway to upgrade the connections for all types of travellers: people on foot, bicycle or in vehicles.
“It’s fantastic to see the Burrard Bridge fully re-open to drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists after many years of improvements and a complete safety overhaul for all users,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.
“The Burrard Bridge is not only a busy arterial for residents to get across the city, but also an iconic landmark and important piece of Vancouver’s history. I’m pleased to see that the final rehabilitation and safety improvements respect the Burrard Bridge’s heritage, add to its value, and make it safer and easier for all users to get around.”
Particular attention was paid to the north end where Burrard meets Pacific Street, ranked Vancouver’s second highest collision location. Now wider, there are dual right-turn lanes for traffic both entering and exiting Pacific. Other enhancements include new sidewalks, rejuvenated concrete handrails and lampposts, separated lanes for cars and bikes, and walking access on the east side of the bridge.
As mentioned, planning went into preserving the bridge’s original look and design, and to do so the city worked with representatives in the film and television industry as well as the heritage community. One of the individuals from the latter group is Donald Luxton, who consulted on the project.
“The rehabilitation of the Burrard Bridge has been an extremely complicated project that has taken many years, but the project has yielded spectacular results,” said Luxton. “Deteriorated elements such as the concrete handrails have been faithfully restored, and the lost pedestrian lighting faithfully reproduced. The result is a triumph of thoughtful engineering and sensitive heritage conservation, breathing new life into this unique city landmark.”