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Here's why several blocks of Homer Street will be ripped up until further notice

It's being taken apart...and then put back together again.

The City of Vancouver announced earlier Monday that Homer Street will be closed between Pender and Cordova today (Jan. 23) until further notice.

The closure is the result of historical heritage pavers underneath the road that need to be removed to allow for water main and street improvements. The bricks were installed in 1907 by notable contractors of the time, Ironside, Rannie & Campbell in order to try out new road technologies for paving. 

They are currently partially exposed beneath the asphalt layer of road and according to an emailed statement from the City of Vancouver "pose a safety hazard to buses and other large vehicles."

"In order to address this ongoing safety issue, the City’s operational crews have been maintaining the asphalt overlay on the granite setts. However, this is an expensive measure that does not address the root cause, as the asphalt routinely breaks away from the granite setts, leaving them partially exposed," the city tells V.I.A.

The road closure is part of the Homer Street Upgrades project which will provide a more permanent solution and make the street safe while also conducting a variety of other infrastructure upgrades including new street furniture. The city will also be adding trees and green rainwater infrastructure, a system that uses soil and plants to manage rainwater.

Once the street upgrades have been completed, a portion of the salvaged pavers will be reinstalled in the east parking lane and, if enough are salvaged, installed in the west boulevard as part of the new design thanks to a bylaw that preserves various structural elements of Vancouver's architectural, social, and cultural history.

The travelled portion of the road will be reconstructed and paved with asphalt to address the safety concerns, says the city.

Historic pavers beneath Vancouver roads are not uncommon, in fact, century-old wood pavers appear on Railway Street every few years when construction lifts up a layer of asphalt or traffic wears enough of the road away to expose them. There are also similar historic bricks in other parts of the city.

With files from Cameron Thomson.