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Supply, labour shortages delay Esplanade enhancement project, city says

The complete street project is intended to make the corridor safer for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users 🚴
A rendering of the plan on Esplanade, looking east from Rogers overpass, shows physical separation of bike lanes, planted boulevards and widened sidewalks. | City of North Vancouver

A major project to make infrastructure along the Esplanade corridor more friendly to people outside of motor vehicles has hit a few road blocks.

With a completion date originally slated for summer 2022, an end date for the Esplanade complete street project is now being pushed into next year.

The project was delayed mainly for supply reasons, City of North Vancouver spokesperson Rebecca Vaughn explained via email. Specifically, concrete and electrical components have been in short supply.

“The Metro Vancouver region is still not fully normalized after the concrete shortages that began back in June,” she said, adding that COVID-19 continues to create labour shortages across all contractors and suppliers.

“Paired with a very wet and cold spring slowing things down, there were many challenges early in the year and we continue to experience supply and labour shortages,” Vaughn said.

The city is targeting mid-December, before a holiday season work stoppage, to complete the most disruptive work, which includes all new curbs, sidewalks and bike spaces. In the new year, workers will need to finish landscaping details, final paving from Rogers and St. Andrews as well as any deficiency work covered under contract warranty.

“Given that many of these elements are weather dependent, we do not have a specific completion date confirmed yet,” Vaughn said. “We are keen to finish things up as quickly as conditions permit in the new year and will continue to provide regular updates to council on the schedule and construction milestones.”

A recent progress update was submitted to city council on Nov. 9, where project manager Mo Bot said the work continues to track on its $7.5-million budget.

Council approved the project in 2020, and work got underway last summer. Overall, the complete street is intended to make better use of limited road and sidewalk space between Third Street West and Low Level Road.

In 2019, North Vancouver resident Mike McIntosh was killed in a chain-reaction crash that began with a driver opening his door into the bike lane, and ended with McIntosh being thrown from his bike under the wheels of a heavy truck.

Following the incident, and many near misses in the area, cycling groups demanded the street’s bicycle infrastructure be improved.

Ongoing updates, as well as notes about delays from earlier in the project, can be found on the city’s website.

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