August 27, 2013

North Van proposes Highway 1 makeover

Big changes may be coming to one of the most traffic-snarled areas of the North Shore as the province and the District of North Vancouver consider redesigning roadways and Highway 1 access in the Lower Lynn and Seymour areas.

Plans include extending Keith Road around the Seylynn development to Mount Seymour Parkway via the Fern Street overpass, widening the Keith Road bridge to four lanes, upgrades and a new park-andride lot for Phibbs Exchange, and a possible reroute of the Dollarton Highway and Mountain Highway on-and offramps.

“This, to me, is a huge opportunity to deal with what has been the bane of transportation on the North Shore for practically ever. When the (Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing) gets bottled up, everything backs up,” said Coun. Roger Bassam, the district’s liaison to the committee working on the plan.

“If we can get some independent east-west flow, the people who live in Seymour and Lynn Valley – essentially 75,000 people who live in North Vancouver – are going to benefit from this.”

The proposal replaces the long-talked-about Seymour flyover.

The ministry is aiming to present two potential new road configurations to the public this fall, which should resolve one of the major grievances the district faces as it plans for future densification, Bassam said.

“(It is) one of the biggest concerns people have about the modest growth that we are experiencing. Everyone thinks, ‘Oh my goodness, the traffic is bad now, how can we possibly we have more growth?’ “The reality is it’s not the growth that’s causing the traffic problems, it’s bad engineering. We have to fix a lot of our interchanges.”

The road project is expected to cost between $70 million and $130 million over 10 to 15 years. But the province and federal government should be putting up two-thirds of the cost, leaving the district on the hook for the remainder, Bassam said.

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