Tuesday, April 13, 2021
April 13, 2021

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Better winter weather helps The Vine construction

C-Tran holds coffee talks with residents as bus rapid transit work advances downtown

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
3 Photos
Construction takes place on The Vine's Turtle Place station in downtown Vancouver on Friday. Turtle Place will be the first to see the "walking sticks" elements central to the design of the system's stations.
Construction takes place on The Vine's Turtle Place station in downtown Vancouver on Friday. Turtle Place will be the first to see the "walking sticks" elements central to the design of the system's stations. (Natalie Behring/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

After a soggy December ground progress to a near halt on several Vine stations, construction has resumed at a normal pace in downtown Vancouver and expanded along the Fourth Plain corridor.

“We are working actively on approximately 13 different locations, and they’re all in various states on completion,” said C-Tran spokeswoman Christine Selk.

The construction is being done in phases with an estimated lead time of eight to 16 weeks per station. While some downtown stations may be ready for a sidewalk, others are just beginning. None of the stations are finished yet, and Selk was reluctant to be specific as to when they would be, citing the unique conditions at each location.

“Between utilities and tree removals, nothing is the same,” she said. “The goal is the same, but sometimes the circumstances are drastically different.”

Selk said the agency expects all five downtown Vine stations to be finished before summer. Upon completion, each station will be well lit, have a ticket vending machine, art elements and a sign that lists bus arrival times in real time.

Installation of the first “walking sticks” — a key element of the stations’ designs that support benches, roofs and windscreens — will start with the Turtle Place station downtown.

Construction is moving out to the Fourth Plain corridor, where most of the work will be performed. Some lanes on the eastbound side of the road had to be closed, but Selk said no one has responded negatively so far.

“We’ve had some inquiries, but really no complaints, and we take that as a good sign,” she said.

Some Vine stations required deep trenches as part of their construction. C-Tran staff said that was to move some utility lines out from underneath Vine station so they can be accessed with minimal interruption to transit. At the Broadway and 16th streets station, that meant crews had to dig down 15 feet to move the line to a safer location.

“When or if the city or a private utility needs to access those, they’re not having to tear up a C-Tran BRT platform,” Scott Patterson, C-Tran director of development and public affairs said at the Feb. 9 C-Tran Board of Directors meeting.

Construction on The Vine started in November, but what turned into Vancouver’s wettest December on record prevented construction crews from pouring concrete in several locations.

The month brought other woes when some business owners in the 1500 block of Broadway were frustrated that construction on a nearby Vine station closed some parking spaces, sidewalks and interrupted street traffic during the holiday shopping season. Crews finished sidewalks in front of those business about two weeks ago.

To keep the public aware of the construction progress and changes coming with The Vine, C-Tran has been holding public monthly meetings at coffee shops around the city.

About 10 people attended the most recent one at Brewed Cafe and Pub downtown and asked about topics ranging from construction progress to electronic fares.

One visitor, a man who described himself as a Fourth Plain business owner but declined to be named said he was supportive of The Vine.

“I have strong feelings about it. We need to get into the 21st century with our transportation in Clark County,” he said.

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