(CBC NEWS) Details of a $200 million proposal to replace Vancouver's Georgia and Dunsmuir street viaducts, including a new 13-acre park on the shore of False Creek, were revealed by senior planners from city hall today.
The proposal suggests replacing the elevated roadways with surface roads that connect to ramps near Rogers Arena in and out of downtown Vancouver.
Staff say the total cost for the project would be about $200 million, but the full cost would be covered by revenue generated by a variety of sources, including development of land opened up by the project.
According to city staff replacing the viaducts would have several benefits including:
"Staff are chomping at the bit waiting to go," said Jerry Dobrovolny, the acting general manger of city engineering. "This is a once-in-a-life-time city building opportunity.
City Councillor George Affleck said he still had concerns about whether the projected revenue would be able to cover the cost of the project, and much it would impact commuters.
"We are looking at one to three minutes per trip. For a commuter that is six minutes a day, five times a week. That is 30 minutes a week. This is time out of people's lives," said Affleck.
The plan and estimated cost doesn't include $100 million for a new overpass along Mailken Road to move rerouted traffic over the rail yards on False Creek Flats to the east of the site. That cost, like the new Powell Street railway overpass, may be shared by the federal government and the rail company.
Planning stagesIn June 2013, the city council voted unanimously to study the removalof the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts, which link East Vancouver with downtown, but a final vote on the proposal has not taken place yet.
Since then, city staff have been conducting traffic impact studies and community consultations to determine what impact the viaduct removals would have on the city.
The Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts link downtown Vancouver with Prior Street in East Vancouver. They were originally built to connect to a freeway through East Vancouver that was scrapped after residents protested.
An exhibit of the technical findings will be on display at Science World for the next two weeks, and staff will report those findings to council later this fall.
The viaducts were originally opened in 1972 as part of a larger proposed freeway through East Vancouver. That plan was scrapped after residents protested.
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