City reacts to Burrard Bridge concerns with netting to catch concrete

Post by Mike Klassen in


GlobalTV's follow-up report on Burrard Bridge concerns shows the City reacting swiftly

In what could be interpreted as an admission of a problem, the City of Vancouver snapped into action after GlobalTV's Rumina Daya inquired into the safety of the aging Burrard Bridge. Only one day after Coun. Heather Deal said everything was A-OK with the bridge, the public saw the Engineering Dept. swing into action with up to 25 employees crawling all over the structure, with man-lifts moved in and netting and new signage set in place.

"It's better to be safe than sorry," said Acting City Engineer Peter Judd in response to the reports about falling debris. Another observer on the street commented, "Maybe [the netting] will act temporarily, but in the long run maybe they should get serious about it." Indeed.

Until this summer when Gregor Robertson's bike lane trial ceases and council gives its final approval to close the lane (the decision has been all but made through council's repeated boasts on the trial's "success"), no real work on removing and replacing the aging concrete railings or improving the safety conditions underneath the bridge can get underway.

So until then be sure to pay heed to the "Watch for Falling Debris" signs underneath, be sure that your bike helmets are well-fitted, or consider finding alternate routes.


Should any of this even surprise us? It's Vision council's M.O. afterall - they shoot THEN they ponder targets. Or not, if it concerns HEAT or STIR or chicken shelters or athletes village...

How exactly do unprotected pedestrians walk under while "watching for falling debris"? What about the gardeners under Burrard on Beach Ave? Yes, we saw the City jump to action on Thursday - thanks only to Tsakumis' warnings and Global TV paying attention.

What I would like to know, and believe should be looked into, is what decisions have been made behind closed doors [read: WITHOUT PUBLIC CONSULTATION], on the Burrard Bridge bike trials and the surface of the bridge.

A few cycling lobbyists are running around town talking about some decisions that have been made, that apparently we don't have the right to know about.

I guess they must have been discussing those changes while using their taxpayer funded Olympic event tickets.

Note: the City Engineer is 'Acting'. Maybe he wants the top job to be his so he better tow the line. As an architect practicing for 42 years in Vancouver, while not an expert, I know something about aging concrete. As it ages it gets more brittle, a certain amount of corrosion occurs on the surface of the rebar in the concrete &, the the rebar steel weakens slightly because of traffic impact loading over time. Because of this @ this point in the life of the bridge one might expect to see occasional spalling.

But, why is it suddenly raining concrete under the Burrard Bridge? I do not accept Mr. Judd's suggestion that the loading of the concrete barriers is equivalent to the traffic loading. The two types of loading are quite different. I would really like to see an analysis by an independent structural engineer. Unfortunately, because Vision has politicized our once 'civil' service we can no longer depend on their impartiality. A sad state.

Opportunity in disguise maybe? Maybe a chance to make everyone happy here. Improved signalling at the north end to reduce backups on pacific and improved signalling to allow right turns on Hornby again, and upgrading the deck so there could be room for the six lanes of cars AND two dedicated bike lanes AND pedestrian sidewalks. Not cheap, but with pieces falling off, people may be more willing to accept the bill.

As much I I don't want Vision to win the next election, "IF" they were to put the bridge back to how it was and improve the sidewalks to resemble the Cambie bridge, it's fait accompli in 2011 - they win.

The Burrard Bridge has become more of a symbol for Vision Vancouver than all the chickens & rats and social housing they may or may not build - combined.

Whatever is done to the Burrard Bridge will be always remembered as Gregor's legacy to the city.

If they build a a permanent bike lane and permanently piss off 10's of thousands it will be remembered every election.

If they come out and say that the trial didn't really increase the number of cyclists like they had hoped, BUT still want to encourage bike over car use for the future, they will be seen as pragmatic.

Pragmatic is good at election time.

Whether Gregor has the balls to piss of the cycling lobby that helped elect him - so that he can win a second term is the question.

Unfortunately I believe the answer lies in the fact that had he any testicles in the first place, he wouldn't have had to hire Penny.

Check out!

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