December 2021 – Update
The Welch Street Bridge is now open to two way vehicle traffic and the new shared pedestrian and cycling path is now open.
The construction team continues to work hard to ensure public safety and environmental controls are part of their day-to-day operations. There are, and will continue to be, some inconveniences until the project is completed and everyone’s patience and understanding is greatly appreciated. Mainly the ramp to exit the bridge to the upper parking deck of Park Royal South is closed while repairs are underway.
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Better active transportation and vehicular movements and enhanced connectivity to the Spirit Trail. These improvements are in partnership with the Squamish Nation and District of West Vancouver.
The bridge was constructed in and around 1976 and in recent years it has seen a significant increase in pedestrian and cycling activity as a vital link to the Spirit Trail. Through the course of time the bridge has undergone periodic maintenance and repairs but required more substantial intervention to ensure ongoing service. The combination of increased active use and needed repairs have resulted in the following improvements:
- Bridge widening to accommodate 3.5m shared pathway along the south side
- New concrete parapet and railing providing separation between vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists
- Bridge deck rehabilitation performed to address delamination, failed expansion joints and surface continuity
- Dedicated right-turn lane from Park Royal South to east bound bridge traffic lane
- New retaining wall and hard and soft landscaping improvements at southeast portion of bridge
- Existing stairs to underside of the bridge replaced with a new galvanised steel stair case
- Existing roadside barriers removed and replaced with new barriers meeting current BCMOTI standards
- Shared pathway crossing at the intersection of Tomahawk Avenue, Bridge Road and Kwumkwum Road improved to provide safer sightlines and crossings for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists including raised crossing surface, decorative pavement markings, regulatory and safety signage
- Squamish Nation “fishing” signage kiosks relocated for better visibility
The bridge improvements, in part, included a number of contracts with Squamish Nation Business Partners and Squamish Nation members as part of the workforce. Park Royal is also working with Squamish Nation Language and Cultural Affairs on recognition and acknowledgement initiatives for the bridge.
A project of this size and scope had intermittent impacts on bridge traffic and active users. Thank you for your patience through the course of construction and completion of improved safety, connectivity and repairs.
When is the work scheduled?
The new shared pathway and associated crossings are planned to commence in early March 2021 and substantially completed by summer of 2021.
What impacts with the work have on traffic?
Through weekdays there will be alternating traffic across the bridge controlled by signalization. This alternating flow will result in traffic delays through the course of construction. On a few occasions the bridge will be closed for night work.
Will pedestrians and cyclists be able to use the bridge during construction activity?
Access for pedestrians and cyclists will be maintained via temporary pedestrian/cycling pathway. Pedestrian access might be impacted late in the project but cycling will be available on the bridge deck as part of the alternating traffic lanes.
Will access to the Capilano River for fishing be restricted?
Access to the river banks will be unrestricted for Squamish Nation Members. On a few occasions, access from the north side of the bridge from the RV Park will be restricted for a few hours per day during the removal of heavy pieces of concrete. Access from the south via the Mobile Home Park will be unaffected and fully accessible. The stairs leading down to the bridge on the south sided will be non-accessible for 2 months while new stairs are being put in.
Will fishing from the south side of the bridge deck be maintained?
Once the temporary path goes in, fishing from the bridge will not be possible. After the improvements are done, a new railing height of approximately, 4.5 feet will be installed, fishing will be possible in this area but the fence will be about a 1’ higher than what exists today.
Why is this work necessary?
The existing sidewalk is narrow and has no separation from vehicles crossing the bridge. The improvements provide an expanded shared pathway for pedestrians, cyclists and those confined to wheelchairs/scooters or those using baby carriages separated from vehicles crossing the bridge. Under the existing conditions, multi-use of the sidewalk is difficult and at times, challenging. The new wider pathway creates a more welcoming and better and protected crossing for pedestrians, cyclists and other modes of active transportation and will be lit to provide more comfort in the darker hours.
The bridge is also in need of remedial work. Through the course of time the bridge has undergone periodic maintenance and repairs but over 40 years of age it now requires more substantial repairs. Remedial repairs will occur in conjunction with construction of the new shared pathway and crossings.
How will traffic movements be improved?
The Southern approach to eastbound bridge lane will be widened to provide a dedicated right-turn lane from Park Royal South to ease congestion and vehicle queues at the existing 4-way stop.
The current parking area (10 stalls) on the west side will be converted to soft landscaping with sidewalk connection for pedestrians to the intersection, improving traffic safety by reducing turning movements.
Will lighting be improved?
New lights along the bridge will be installed making it easier to see pedestrians and cyclists at night.
Will there be a loss of any trees?
The loss of some trees adjacent to mobile home residences on Hiawatha Drive will occur. A new retaining wall and hard and soft landscaping improvements will mitigate the loss of one alder, four cedars and three maples.
Are there any environmental impacts?
No work will be done in the Capilano River. All measures to protect the river from any debris will be taken with ongoing third party environmental monitoring.
Will there be a new staircase to the river?
Existing stair access from the sidewalk to the underside of the bridge will be replaced with a new galvanized steel staircase complete with railings on both sides. Signage identifying access to the river area is for for Squamish Nation Members only will be erected.
Will the crosswalks on the east side remain?
The shared pathway crossing at the intersection of Tomahawk Avenue, Bridge Road and Kwumkwum Road will be improved to provide better sightlines and movements for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists including a raised crossing surface, decorative pavement markings, regulatory and safety signage.
Will access to the mobile home park or the RV Park be impacted?
During construction there will be minor impacts on movements to and from these areas. After construction is completed, there will be no change to movements to and from the mobile home park. There will be some changes to vehicle access to the RV park resulting in more defined in/out movements but no restrictions. The existing diagonal pedestrian crossing to/from the RV park will be removed, including the wooden stair case on the north side of the road.
Who is paying for this and how much is it going to cost?
The project is being paid for by Park Royal with a portion ($500,000) coming from the District of West Vancouver. Total cost for the project is in the order of $2.4 million.
How does this benefit the Squamish Nation Membership?
A more welcoming and protected crossing for pedestrians and cyclists is the key objective. For those choosing to walk, have strollers or require wheel chairs, scooter or other forms of assistance to move across the bridge, they will have a much better experience than the existing narrow sidewalk with no separation from vehicle traffic.
The bridge construction will provide employment and business opportunities for Squamish Nation members. The bridge improvements present cultural opportunities including naming and public art possibilities.
We thank you for your patience while this work is being undertaken.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org