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$200M Holdom overpass to start construction in Burnaby this year

The third and final round of public engagement for the project will be held Aug. 12 to Sept. 2.

Relief is in sight for drivers and cyclists who get stuck behind trains at Douglas Road in Burnaby.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority plans to begin construction on the Burnaby Holdom overpass project late this year.

The elevated four-lane overpass will extend Holdom Avenue over the CN Rail corridor and Still Creek to connect with Douglas Road.

Charlotte Olson, director of infrastructure delivery for Van Fraser Port Authority, said the Douglas Road crossing is already “very, very busy” and is only expected to get busier with more frequent and longer trains moving through Burnaby.

The overpass project is intended to improve trade flows in the region as well as increase safety for pedestrians, cyclists and emergency first responders, Olson told Burnaby council at a meeting July 8.

The port authority expects there will be detours throughout the three years of construction, which will be communicated “early and often,” according to Olson, adding maintaining access for pedestrians and businesses will be a priority.

The project is now expected to be complete in 2027.

Map of plans for the Holdom overpass in Burnaby. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

The Holdom overpass project will include:

  • physical separation for pedestrians, cyclists and those using mobility aids
  • pedestrian- and cyclist-activated lights at both intersections
  • lighting for public safety
  • two lookouts on the overpass to view Still Creek and the Central Valley Greenway

The port authority worked with interested First Nations to include art on the overpass columns, art sculptures and metal decorative art panels mounted on the railings and educational signage on an information kiosk in the Central Valley Greenway.

The City of Burnaby and the port authority were previously in talks to pre-approve an alternate pedestrian and cycle-only path at a different location, but Olson said while the current design “does contemplate” a future pedestrian crossing, it’s outside the scope of the overpass project.

The overpass will transfer into the city’s ownership when it is complete.

Road layout planned for the Holdom overpass in Burnaby. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

The port authority has awarded the design-build contract to Aecon-Gateway Infrastructure Group.

In 2017, the project was first budgeted at $145 million, but due to “construction costs and project schedule extensions,” the total cost is now expected to be about $200 million, the port authority told the Burnaby NOW in an emailed statement.

In 2022, the port authority expected to begin construction in 2023 and complete in 2025.

The overpass is funded by the federal government, the port authority and CN.

The rail corridor through Burnaby is the only rail connection to transport goods to and from port terminals located in North Vancouver, which connect Canadian products like grain and fertilizer to global markets, according to a port press release.

Art rendering of the Holdom overpass columns in Burnaby. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority

The rail corridor moves more than 40 million metric tonnes of export cargo, accounting for more than 40 per cent of the port’s total international exports in 2023.

The port will hold public engagement from Aug. 12 to Sept. 2.

Interested residents can email their feedback to the port, complete an online survey during the engagement phase, or attend drop-in open houses with the project team:

  • Saturday, Aug. 24 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Christine Sinclair Community Centre (3713 Kensington Ave.)
  • Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Christine Sinclair Community Centre (3713 Kensington Ave.)