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What hides beneath the viaducts?

Last Updated Nov 25, 2015 at 9:42 pm PDT

A slide from a City of Vancouver Open House. (Source: City of Vancouver)
Summary

There are rumours of train cars and brickwork under in the sludge under the viaducts.

An archaeological assessment of the viaduct land uncovered nothing significant.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The rumors have begun over what could be uncovered when Vancouver’s downtown viaducts are taken down.

Jerry Dobrovolny, general manager of Engineering Services for the City of Vancouver, said if anything significant were to be discovered, the city would look into preserving it.

“There are all sorts of things that we may find under there, in terms of bricks and wood waste, there’s some legendary rail cars buried there, so we’ll see if we find those or not,” Dobrovolny said.

“I know when we were excavating for Olympic Village there was a lot of wood waste, some trees and stumps, and former industrial things. I think that we’ll find bricks and things down there.”

About a century ago the land was essentially underwater as mudflats on the east edge of False Creek. The area was filled in for industrial development and in 1915 the first viaducts were constructed.

In 1971, those were replaced with the current viaducts that connect Vancouver’s east side with the downtown peninsula.

Current archaeological assessment shows nothing significant in the sludge under the doomed structures but Dobrovolny said they will keep an eye on developments.

Speculation that the body of famed Teamster Jimmy Hoffa (James Riddle Hoffa) would be unearthed is unlikely as his disappearance happened nearly five years after the current Viaducts were built.

There is no set date for viaduct deconstruction to begin but designs are in the works at the city’s engineering offices.

Dobrovolny said a timeline will likely be hammered out next year.