The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, the body that oversees the Port of Vancouver, has officially opened the Centennial Road overpass on Vancouver’s south shore. The opening of the new overpass marks a milestone for the improvement in the movement of goods to and from the port.
Construction of the overpass began in the summer of 2019. On July 4, 2021, it officially opened to container truck traffic in both directions. Coinciding with the opening of the new overpass, additional changes to traffic patterns on port roads were also implemented.
The Heatley Avenue overpass temporarily remained open to inbound passenger vehicle traffic only with valid port passes (passenger vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists), and was closed to all outbound traffic until August. The overpass is now closing permanently for demolition.
Also, the port authority says that due to the Heatley Avenue overpass now being closed for outbound traffic, residents and businesses along Hastings Street, Powell Street, Dundas Street, Nanaimo Street and McGill Street have seen a decrease in container truck traffic on city streets.
“This marks an important milestone to improve the movement of goods in the Pacific gateway to support Canada’s growing trade,” Cliff Stewart, vice president for infrastructure with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority explained. “The collaborative efforts between government and industry help to ensure Canada remains competitive on the world stage for years to come.”
The overpass is part of the Centerm Expansion Project, which includes expansion of and improvements to the Centerm container terminal—Centerm is short for Centennial Terminals—to help meet anticipated near-term demand for containers to be shipped through Vancouver.
Specifically, the expansion project involves construction of new port land through infill to expand the terminal footprint by 15% to help meet increasing demand for containers shipped through the port.
The projects are contained to port land on the south shore of Burrard Inlet, and include:
• Construction of a new overpass on Centennial Road to bypass rail tracks thereby reducing both rail and road congestion.
• Changes to Waterfront Road creating a continuous port road from Canada Place to Highway 1.
• Removal of the Heatley Avenue overpass.
• Reconfiguration and expansion of the Centerm container terminal. Once complete, the terminal would be able to accommodate 60% more containers by having added only 15% more land.
Benefits of the project, according to the port authority, include increased efficiency of goods moving by road and rail, and fewer trucks on city streets with the closure of the Heatley Avenue overpass, thereby providing a benefit to local commuters.