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East 1st avenue reopens after months-long closure for gas line work

East 1st Avenue and Clark Dr (Courtesy of Googlemaps)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Good news if you rely on East 1st Avenue to get into or out of Vancouver.

The road has been fully reopened one day early between Nanaimo Street and Clark Drive, as Fortis B.C. has completed its gas line upgrades along that stretch.

“I think the final stages of work were really mostly work that the city had to look after,” Trevor Wales with the utility says. “Obviously we understand that people were wanting the road to be open as soon as possible, so we were happy to be able to do that [Thursday] and get it open ahead of that August 31st target.”

In a release, the City of Vancouver acknowledges the closure has been an inconvenience for both commuters and those living and working in the area, but adds it was work that needed to be done.

Partial lane closures were in place starting back this spring. East 1st Ave. was partially reopened — between Rupert and Nanaimo — on Sunday, and the full reopening comes just in time for the long weekend.

“FortisBC will continue periodic work from Rupert to Nanaimo Street until early September, with ongoing lane closures near the Highway #1 overpass that are expected to wrap up in early fall,” the city says in a statement.

The utility claims the work was planned in such a way to minimize the length of the closure.

While the big closure is over, there is still some work that’s ongoing further east.

“Towards the Highway 1 overpass,” explains City of Vancouver Director of Transportation Lon LeClaire. “So that portion of 1st Avenue will still experience some partial lane reductions and some closures. For that reason, a lot of the traffic calming that we’ve put in the neighbourhood to protect the local streets from non-local traffic we’re going to keep them in place until we see traffic patterns stabilize.”

This work, he adds, is expected to go on for the next month.

So can commuters expect another major closure any time soon? LeClaire says the city tries to coordinate any major work in order to minimize disruptions.

(Courtesy Fortis B.C.)

Gas line work continues

Just because East 1st Ave. has been reopened in Vancouver, that doesn’t mean upgrades are complete everywhere.

As mentioned, some work is still being done near the Highway 1 overpass, but work is also continuing in Burnaby.

“The other areas that we’re continuing to work, those weren’t areas that we’ve indicated would be finished, so that was work that we anticipated would go into September and potentially into October,” Wales explains.

Fortis will continue periodic work between Rupert and Nanaimo until early September. Wales says crews are restoring the median during off-peak hours, in less than one-block intervals.

When it comes to the section between Rupert and Boundary road, Fortis work will likely continue until early October.

“As a result, there are some impacts to the south side of the street. The eastbound traffic there is reduced to one lane, and there are some impacts to the on-ramp to the highway in that area as well.”

He recommends visiting the project webpage for the latest updates.

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-With files from Alison Bailey