British Columbia

City probes reports of debris falling from Granville bridge

Pointing up at the underside of the Granville Street bridge, Cheryl Nelms, the deputy manager of engineering for Vancouver is explaining the next phase of the city's plan to improve the structural integrity and seismic resiliency of the 65-year-old-span.

A $35M upgrade has been underway for the past year on 65-year-old bridge

(Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Pointing up at the underside of the Granville Street bridge, Cheryl Nelms, the deputy manager of engineering for Vancouver, is explaining the next phase of the city's plan to improve the structural integrity and seismic resiliency of the 65-year-old span.

The city's engineering department organized the Friday morning walking tour following reports that small chunks of steel were falling from the bridge onto pavement and businesses below.

The tour was to reassure the public the bridge is structurally sound. "The safety and the security of the public is at the forefront," said Nelms.

The city investigated the reports of falling debris, Nelms said, by sending a crew out to inspect the bridge last week.

In a release, the city said crews "have not detected any debris falling from the girders of the bridge." 

Every five years, a maintenance program is done on the bridge and every six months, local crews conduct an inspection process, Nelms said.

Sign of aging

Built in 1954, the 537-metre long deck truss bridge is showing signs of aging. A $35 million upgrade has been underway for the past year. 

Among the improvements: Concrete and steel repairs are being done on the north and south approach ramps; bearings and expansion joints are being replaced; and later this month, work will begin on the marine span of the bridge.

Over the next few years, there will also be changes to the above-deck portion of the bridge.

Council has voted to create a bike lane and better accessibility for pedestrians that could include a greenway.  Previous plans have shown the possibility of two lanes running through the middle of the bridge covered in greenery.

Nelms said there is no set date for work to begin on that aspect of the bridge.

"So right now we've gone through the first phase of a consultation process. We've had over 6,000 responses from the public."

A final project and budget will be presented to council after the city consults with the public, engineers and designers.

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