Vancouver viaducts Photo: BuzzBuzzHome

Their fate has been decided. The Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts are coming down.

Late Monday night Vancouver city council voted 5-4 to remove the structures that were originally built as part of a freeway system through the downtown core that was never realized.

“This is a once-in-a-generation city-building opportunity,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a written statement.

City staff will report back to council in 18 months after commencing planning and land negotiations. When they are finally gone, the absence of the viaducts will mean an increase in downtown park space, as well as two new city blocks that would be used for new residential development — both social and market housing. And, naturally, a new at-grade road for vehicle traffic.

Viaduct removal artist rendering

The projected cost of the project is $200 million. The City already has a $21 million budget to move forward with planning and negotiations with Concord Pacific, the developer that owns much of the land surrounding the viaducts.

Removing the viaducts has been a contentious issue for years now, as demonstrated in this smattering of Twitter reaction from city council members (from Vancouver and beyond!), other politicians, policy makers, planners and journalists.

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