Welch Street Bridge Improvements

Notice from the Squamish Nation, Park Royal, and West Vancouver:

Welch Street Bridge Improvements
February 12, 2020

In the coming weeks, Park Royal will be commencing improvements the bridge crossing the Capilano River (known as the “Welch Street Bridge”) to address safety, 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 requires 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, will include 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 will have intermittent impacts on bridge traffic and active users. Details about traffic management and construction updates will be regularly provided and any questions can be sent to bridgeinfo@parkroyal.ca. Thank you for your patience through the course of construction and completion of improved safety, connectivity and repairs.

When is the work scheduled?
The work is planned to commence March 2020 with substantial completion targeted for the end of June 2020.

What impacts with the work have on traffic?
During weekdays, the bridge will accommodate alternating traffic controlled by flaggers and signalization. Alternating traffic flow will result in delays. During non-construction the bridge traffic will be controlled by alternating traffic signalization and 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 could be impacted late in the project but cycling will be available on the bridge deck via the alternating traffic lanes.

Will access to the Capilano River for fishing be restricted?
Access to the river backs will be unrestricted. 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 constructed.

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 height of approximately, 4.5 feet will be installed and will be about 1’ higher than what exists today. Fishing off the bridge will still be possible at the completion of the improvements.

Why is this work necessary?
The existing sidewalk is narrow with no separation from vehicles using the bridge. This creates an unsafe environment for pedestrians, cyclists and those confined to wheelchairs/scooters or using baby carriages when crossing the bridge. Safety for these individuals diminishes when one or more of these users share the sidewalk. The wider pathway creates a much safer crossing 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 now requires more substantial repairs. At the completion of the project the bridge will look and feel new.

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 a new sidewalk connecting pedestrians to the intersection and improved 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 these trees.

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 third party environmental monitoring throughout the project.

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 the river area as use 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 safer sightlines and crossings 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?
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 and safer in/out movements but no restrictions. The existing diagonal pedestrian crossing to/from the RV Park will be removed, including the wooden staircase on the north side of the road.

Who is paying for this and how much is it going to cost?
The project is funded by Park Royal with contribution for the shared pathway coming the District of West Vancouver.

We thank you for your patience while this work is being undertaken.

If you have any questions, please email bridgeinfo@parkroyal.ca

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