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Two West Van highway ramps to close for several months

Drivers headed to Westmount or West Bay will be sent on a four-minute detour until the end of the summer.
Exit 7 web google
Exit 7 from the Trans Canada Highway in West Vancouver will be closed until the end of August, 2022.

The District of West Vancouver is shutting down one off-ramp and one on-ramp on Highway 1 for much of the spring and summer to allow for completion of a stormwater drainage project.

Crews closed the westbound Exit 7/Westmount Road/Westridge Avenue off-ramp on May 11 to allow tunnelling under the highway for the Five Creeks storm drain project.

Those who would typically use the exit to reach their homes in Westmount, West Bay, or Sherman neighbourhoods will likely have to continue on to Exit 4/Woodgreen Drive/Headland Drive by Caulfeild Village and then backtrack on the highway – a detour of about six kilometres, the district estimates, or four minutes of extra driving time. Residents may still access the neighbourhoods via Marine Drive.

The district expects the closure to last until Aug. 30.

“As always, we really appreciate people's patience,” said Donna Powers, district spokesperson.  “Many residents and students at West Bay elementary school, were significantly inconvenienced by the first phase of the project. We're all inconvenienced at some point by these necessary improvements.”

The project began work in 2019 but had to be paused in August 2020 when engineers found the material under the highway to have more large boulders than test digs led them to believe there would be. To safely continue the project without risk of collapse or having to close any lanes on the Upper Levels, they chose to install two smaller tunnels at separate locations, using different methods.

The work may require two to three weeks of blasting to create a new entry pit for the storm line.

Starting on May 16, the westbound on-ramp for Cypress Bowl Road (Exit 8) will be closed for roughly nine weeks for a separate leg of the project. As of May 12, the exact detour hadn’t yet been approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure but signs will be placed before the work begins, Powers said.

Construction will occur Monday to Friday, between 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturdays between and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. if required.

The project flows from the district’s 2013 integrated stormwater management plant. The work is being paid for by British Pacific Properties as part of the agreement for the eventual development of Cypress Village, a new village centre off Cypress Bowl Road.

That has been unpopular with some residents, Powers acknowledged, but she said council is committed to proceeding with it and the storm infrastructure is badly needed, in any case, to protect the 800 homes below the highway from flooding and landslides.

“Even if there was no future development above the highway, we need to recognize that the impacts of climate change are becoming more and more severe. And one of the significant impacts here is going to be stormwater runoff if we have high-moisture events,” she said. “We got off lucky last year, but the rest of the province certainly did not, and being prepared for those kinds of events is definitely something that we're committed to.”

brichter@nsnews.com

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