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Businesses brace for year-long Powell Street closure

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – They call it summer roadwork season, but one project promises to cause headaches for commuters and businesses alike, long after the leaves have changed colour.

Work on the coming Powell Street Overpass in Vancouver begins June 24th, shutting down Powell between Hawks Avenue and Clark Drive until the summer of 2014.

The $50-million project is jointly-funded by Port Metro Vancouver, the City, Ottawa, CP, and TransLink.

Joji Kumagai with the Strathcona Business Improvement Association says area merchants dependent on commuters into the downtown core are concerned.

“For example, Starbucks; they’re considering whether or not their drive-thru should continue to operate during the construction phase. Shirtland Dry Cleaners, they rely on a lot of people coming in the morning, dropping stuff off, then coming back in the evening and picking stuff up.”

Wes Regan with the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association worries about safety and added congestion, once drivers start using Hastings Street to get around the closure.

“As traffic increases, we may see more congestion as well and I don’t know how that’s going to impact our businesses or impact residents… but hopefully, the construction will go smoothly and will be schedule and we can get things back to normal quick.”

Regan notes a 60-year-old man was struck and killed while trying to cross Hastings at Carrall Tuesday afternoon and he hopes future pedestrian incidents can be avoided.

“It’s a community, it’s a business district, and it’s an area where drivers should be aware of the fact that there’s a lot of people walking around here,” he explains.

 

The local business and resident access plan during construction of the Powell Street Overpass
The local business and resident access plan during construction of the Powell Street Overpass