Section of Stanley Park Seawall Closed for Repairs from Storm Damage

22674460238_51cd8a2cba_kStanley Park seawall lovers may need to find an alternate walking and biking route … at least for the next few weeks.

A stretch of Vancouver’s popular 9-kilometre seawall will be closed for repairs after crews discovered a partial collapse of a small section this week. The closure will affect the area extending from Lions Gate Bridge to Third Beach.

A flurry of recent storms – with high wind and strong waves – is being blamed for the damage. The area affected is exposed directly to the open ocean and suffers the brunt of abuse during surges.

This isn’t the first seawall closure in recent years. Last November, a large section of the Stanley Park seawall between English Bay and Lumbermen’s Arch was also closed because of damage from waves and logs.

Part of the challenge is that construction on the seawall began all the way back in 1917. Much of the monumental structure, in fact, was the work of one man: park board master mason James Cunningham, who spent more than 30 years on the project. Interestingly, it wasn’t until 1980 that the seawall was officially “finished” with the completion of the leg between Third Beach and Second Beach.

Photo credit: bobanny | Wikipedia

Photo credit: bobanny | Wikipedia

Owing partly to the piecemeal construction, the seawall wasn’t really designed to stand the test of time. A 2013 engineering report notes that the wall is vulnerable to a “large storm event” or “moderate seismic event,” according to the Vancouver Sun.  The same report concludes that the entire seawall will reach the end of its “serviceable life” in seven to 15 years.

Fortunately, the city has plans in place to keep the iconic attraction up and running far into the future. A total of $5 million has been budgeted for major seawall maintenance over the next two years, with efforts focused on the exposed areas around Second Beach. A larger 20-year restoration and reconstruction plan is also in place, with significant repairs planned for every five years. Large sections of the seawall will be rebuilt entirely, while sensitive heritage areas will be rehabilitated.

Photo credit: InSapphoWeTrust | Wikipedia

Photo credit: InSapphoWeTrust | Wikipedia

The current closure from Lions Gate Bridge to Third Beach is expected to last for up to a month. Pedestrian and bike traffic will be rerouted through Stanley Park.

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