A rendering of Front Street transportation improvements set to get underway as soon as next week. (McElhanney image/City of Nanaimo)

Work set to start on Front Street cycle track in downtown Nanaimo

Road work and street reconfiguration project scheduled to start in March, finish in May

A deluxe bike lane with waterfront views is set to be built starting this month in downtown Nanaimo.

The Front Street transportation improvement project is slated to get underway in March, said Phil Stewart, the City of Nanaimo’s manager of engineering projects, in a report to city council this week.

“After some struggles and delays with a project that was supposed to be a quick win, we’re finally going to be underway with Front Street as early as next week,” Stewart said.

Windley Contracting was awarded the tender, with a low bid of $1.2 million, according to city documents. The cycle track portion of the project was previously budgeted at $400,000, but the bike lane is being combined with other upgrades. A city document notes that the work consists of installation of a two-way cycle track, road rehabilitation, bus stops with bus pads, raised crosswalk, paving, electrical work and more.

The new elevated crosswalk is being built near the Nanaimo Courthouse and another new crosswalk is going in near the transit exchang.

The city, in a press release, said federal funding of $605,000 is being provided for the project through the federal gas tax program administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

The Front Street reconfiguration will result in automobile traffic being reduced to one lane in each direction, with the bike lanes on the waterfront side of the street and parking along the other side.

The project was originally scheduled for 2021, but in 2019, city staff suggested the cycle track could be a quick win for the downtown and fast-tracked for completion in 2020. Council instead opted for further consultation with stakeholders before voting in favour of the project about one year ago.

Stewart said the work is expected to be finished in May.

“It should be a fairly quick project, actually,” he said.

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