North Vancouver is known for its natural beauty and gorgeous homes, but it’s also famous for its traffic jams.
Traffic woes are a daily occurrence for both The Lion’s Gate and Iron Workers’ Bridges, which can be backed up to 6 kilometers as early as 3pm on a weekday in either direction. Years of frustration and outcry from North Shore residents for a fix have finally been heard.
All three levels of government have announced a $ 60-million plan to free the bottleneck on the Lynn Creek corridor on Highway 1 leading towards the Iron Workers’ Bridge. A total of $150 million is earmarked over seven years to upgrade two interchanges and add a third at Mountain Highway.
The improvements funded equally by the federal government, the provincial government and the District of North Vancouver will include a new two-lane bridge on each side of Lynn Cree Bridge, an eastbound on-ram from Mountain Highway and westbound connector lane from Mount Seymour Parkway to Mountain Highway.
The heavily-used corridor saw a peak of over 136,000 last year, up from 126,000 in 2009. But the plan doesn’t include the idea of widening the highway from two lanes to three heading eastbound from the Lonsdale on-ramp, typically when traffic tends to build at rush hour.
In recent years, rush hour on the North Shore has reversed direction with heavier traffic heading form North Vancouver to Vancouver, Burnaby, and the Fraser Valley, clogging up streets toward the bridge.
Among the improvements announced under the project, which is expected to be completed by 2020, a cycling and pedestrian overpass, a new bus signal, and intersection improvements.
The Highway 1 expansion will bring new economic prosperity to the North Shore as this investment will spill into other areas, most notably the housing market. Population on the North Shore and Lions Bay is predicted to increase by 35 per cent from 2006 to 2041, adding almost 63,000 residents, and the Sea-to-Sky corridor will accommodate more people as well.
With this expansion, and easier mobility to the rest of Metro Vancouver, the North Shore will only become a more desirable place to live and housing prices will rise accordingly.
Real estate is the new gold rush on the North Shore, where dramatic increases in property values are creating winners, and big changes. Property assessment notices that came out in January, showing the value of properties in July 2015, confirmed what most already knew. Values for typical single-family homes were up 15 to 25 per cent in the past year, on top of dramatic gains the year before.
In this white-hot market, owners of an average home in Lynnmour – a neighbourhood of older, modest houses near the Ironworkers bridge – were now members of the million-dollar club. And with the new expansion on the way, property will only likely to become more valuable as these houses become more desirable.