Vancouver is on the verge of a year-long study to determine the fate of two key arterial routes between the city’s Eastside and downtown core.

Council is expected to vote Thursday on a $695,000 study on whether to keep or remove the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts.

Coun. Geoff Meggs called for the study in November to examine the costs and benefits of removing the structures, something he is a proponent of.

In the past, he has referred to them as the “vestigial rump” of a proposed 1970s freeway through Vancouver.

The study would take 11 months to a year to complete and consider six different options:
• Maintaining the viaducts.

• Joining Pacific and Expo boulevards in as short a distance possible.

• Joining at Main Street.

• Keeping the Dunsmuir Viaduct and removing the Georgia Viaduct.

• Complete removal of both.

• Removal of both, while realigning or elevating the SkyTrain tracks.

The viaducts were built in 1972 and are in good condition with an estimated remaining lifespan of 50 years, but staff warn that the viaducts could be vulnerable to damage in an earthquake.

The viaducts were closed during the 2010 Games, resulting in large increases in traffic on Hastings, Pender, Powell and Cordova streets, despite a 35 per cent decrease in traffic downtown.

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