Vancouver Broadway business bemoans delayed Subway line

There are major setbacks for two huge projects that will affect how you get around the Lower Mainland.

Construction started in 2020 on the $2.8 billion Broadway Subway Project, and the provincial government announced its operation is going to be delayed from 2026 to the fall of 2027, assuming everything from here on out stays on track.

It blamed “design and construction activities,” adding they have taken longer than expected “including work to relocate major utilities and install traffic decks, while keeping traffic moving along Broadway.”

Anyone who has driven the thoroughfare over the last couple of years has had to navigate orange cones, narrowed lanes, bumps in the road, traffic delays, and noisy construction.

The store manager of Pallet Coffee Roasters, on Broadway and Maple Street, does not want her name published but says the ongoing construction has been brutal on the store’s bottom line.

“It’s been almost two to three years since construction started and it’s impacted business almost by half. Just to put in perspective, let’s say the sales used to be $80,000 a year, it’s down to $50,000 now.”

She admits the owners do not know what to do.

“Definitely, the financial side, it’s tough. The business is not doing as well. I think they are just taking the loss for now and trying to hold onto it,” she explained. “It used to be one of the busiest stores before the construction started.”

She tells CityNews the area outside their storefront is a mess.

“One, there’s construction all around Broadway so some of the sidewalks are closed, some it’s a detour, so there’s very little foot traffic in the area. Second, almost all of the parking spots on Broadway are closed, and then [parking] on the side, they’re always full because Broadway parking is closed.”

Pallet Coffee Roasters is in a mixed-used building, and she adds the noisy construction is a source of complaints from people living upstairs.

“It’s a big impact for residents. Our place, as in the café, is a little bit sound-proof, but for the residents who live above, I’ve even heard some people have moved out just because of the noise and all the construction.”

She adds the project manager has been keeping them in the loop with regular updates, but that does not deter their frustration.

She explains that when construction wraps up, there will be a nearby SkyTrain station, however, she is not sure the company will reap the benefits, if they’re unable to stay in business for the next three years.

The province explained last week that the other infrastructure project facing delays is the new Pattullo Bridge.

First slated to open in 2023, that was pushed back for COVID-19 pandemic-related reasons to 2024, with the new opening date set for fall of 2025.

“The Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project started at the beginning of the pandemic in February 2020. Since then, it has faced significant challenges, including inflationary pressures and global supply issues related to the delivery of specialized components from around the world. In addition, the bridge tower construction took longer than expected,” said the B.C. government in a release.

Once construction is complete, the new connector will have wider lanes separated by a centre median barrier and dedicated pedestrian and cycling lanes.

The new Pattullo Bridge is expected to cost $1.4 billion.