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East First Avenue reopens ahead of long weekend

After weeks of increased traffic congestion due to the closure of East First Avenue, the roadway is fully re-opened just in time for the long weekend and all that back-to-school traffic next week.
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After weeks of increased traffic congestion due to the closure of East First Avenue, the roadway is fully re-opened just in time for the long weekend and all that back-to-school traffic next week.

First Avenue from Nanaimo Street to Clark Drive fully reopened to traffic Thursday afternoon.

 East First Avenue under repair (Photo: Dan Toulgoet)East First Avenue under repair (Photo: Dan Toulgoet)

“We recognize that the full closure has been an inconvenience for residents and commuters — it’s work that FortisBC had to get done,” Jerry Dobrovolny, Vancouver’s general manager of engineering services, said in a press release. “We’re very appreciated to their team for an early opening, as well as to all residents, businesses, and commuters for their patience and understanding during this work.”

Partial lane closures on East First between Nanaimo and Boundary began back in April but the road was fully closed to traffic between Clark and Nanaimo starting in mid-June.

The closures were in place while Fortis B.C. worked on replacing 20 kilometres of gas line running from Vancouver to Coquitlam.

While that stretch of East First is now open, the work is not yet complete and Fortis will continue periodic work from Rupert to Nanaimo Street until early September with ongoing lane closures near the Highway 1 overpass, which are expected to wrap up in early fall.

“Recognizing that urban infrastructure projects like this one impact the community, we planned our work to minimize the length of the closure and challenges for commuters, residents and businesses,” said Mike Leclair, Fortis B.C.’s vice-president of major projects. “We want to thank the community for their input and cooperation, which has helped us complete this work safely and efficiently.”

During construction, the city worked with Fortis to install several temporary traffic calming measures throughout the Hastings-Sunrise and Granville-Woodlands neighbourhoods, aimed at reducing the number of drivers short-cutting through local streets to avoid the construction.

Some of the measures will remain in place as traffic patterns stabilize as the road is reopened and work continues near Highway 1 and in Burnaby. The city will gather data and assess whether the closures could provide any ongoing benefits for residents.

Once assessment is complete, the city will reach out to the community with more information and options.