Nanaimo Street is on its way to becoming safer and more comfortable, especially if you are on foot or travelling by bike.
Replacing and separating the sanitary sewer and rainwater drains is on schedule for completion before the end of March 2020. The new sewers should last 100 years and will allow for neighbourhood growth. They will also prevent untreated water ending up in natural waterways.
The pipes will have one final purpose: serving as a time capsule. Some pipes were painted by community members before city crews buried them underground. A hundred years from now when they need replacing again, future community members will have an interesting connection to today’s.
The underground work has provided an opportunity to look at how Nanaimo Street is serving residents’ overall needs. According to Godfrey Tait, communications manager with Engineering at the City of Vancouver, surface level improvements will begin shortly after the sewer work is complete in March and will include bike lanes, green infrastructure medians and safety upgrades such as bulges, green painted bike lane crossings and tactile surface indicator tiles for the visually impaired.
The upgrades will also include a semi-permanent, surface level “sewerscape” art installation. One of the largest pipes used in the infrastructure project will be nestled into a green space along Nanaimo at Charles Street. The 140 cm diameter pipe will be lined with a fine wood and will become a focal point for gathering as well as a visually interesting and fun piece of street furniture.
Throughout all stages of what is one of the city’s biggest current projects, at least one lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained and, where necessary, police and traffic control personnel will be on site to ensure everyone remains safe.
All work should be completed by mid-2020. Updates can be found on the City of Vancouver website at: Vancouver.ca. Click on Streets and Transportation, then Search for Nanaimo Street Upgrades.
■ Loretta Revoczi