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Holdom overpass plans move forward in Burnaby

The four-lane overpass will connect Holdom Avenue with Douglas Road to replace the current “busy crossing” over the CN railway at Douglas Road.

Plans for the Holdom overpass connecting Holdom Avenue and Douglas Road over the CN railroad are chugging along.

Mayna Vancaillie, acting director of infrastructure delivery at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, gave an update on the overpass progress to city council on July 4.

Design: Four lanes over ‘busy crossing’

The overpass will be an elevated four-lane road to extend Holdom Avenue south over the rail corridor and Still Creek to connect with Douglas Road.

It will replace the current crossing at Douglas Road, which is closed to traffic about 30 times a day, totalling about two hours daily.

“It’s a busy crossing, and it’s expected to get busier,” said Vancaillie.

CN completed the rail work portion of the project earlier this year; now, the port authority and Burnaby staff are working on the overpass design and construction plans.

The design for the overpass includes dedicated space on either side of the overpass for those walking, biking and rolling, physically separated from the road.

The city is working with the port to pre-approve an alternate pedestrian and cycle-only path at a different location at a future date.

The overpass will have an average grade across the bridge of 6 per cent, with its highest point over the rail corridor.

The overpass design includes lookouts and benches to showcase views of the Central Valley Greenway and Still Creek.

The port authority also says it has worked with Indigenous groups to identify spaces that could be used for cultural recognition, like decorative art wraps on overpass columns, bridge railing art and educational signage in public spaces below the overpass.

Safety, businesses a priority

Vancaillie said a key concern is to ensure various modes of transportation can move through the area safely during construction; the contractor will create a traffic and construction safety plan.

She said the port authority has worked to minimize impact to business and doesn’t anticipate any business relocations.

The port authority is also in discussions with property owners to buy land.

Vancaillie said the city has long recognized the need for an overpass in this area, noting that it was first recommended in the city’s 1979 transportation plan and has been included in every transportation plan since.

Statistics from the port authority say that 65 per cent of trains through Burnaby head to the North Shore terminals.

The designs for the overpass will be shared with the community in spring 2023, with construction expected to begin in summer 2023 for completion in 2025.

When the overpass is complete, the City of Burnaby will take ownership of it.

The $145-million project is funded by the federal government, the port authority and CN.