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Construction efforts sky-high as tower, sidewalks progress

Workers with Quorum Group install of a hammer-head crane Friday, in preparation for construction of Epta Properties
Workers with Quorum Group install of a hammer-head crane Friday, in preparation for construction of Epta Properties' 17-storey Avra development, at 1456 Johnston Rd. in White Rock.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

All eyes were on the skies over White Rock Friday, as work to install a hammer-head crane got underway in the 1400-block of George Street.

The crane, complete with a 140-foot boom, is to be used in the construction of Epta Properties' Avra development, a 17-storey, 108-unit tower at 1456 Johnston Rd.

John Smart, superintendent of development for Quorum Group, said the installation – which restricted traffic flow and parking along George Street between Thrift and Russell avenues Friday – would take about seven hours. The process leading up to Friday's effort, however, took about seven weeks, he said, largely because it is not a commonplace event in the city.

"In the City of Vancouver, they're so used to us doing this – a phone call and it's done," Smart said.

In White Rock, "it's a little sensitive and we have to respect that."

Smart expects the timeframe will shorten in the future, as projects such as Bosa Properties' final two Miramar Village towers and the Essence move ahead.

The crane for Avra will remain in place for about a year, Smart said. The building is anticipated to be ready for occupancy in February 2013.

Friday also marked the opening of new sidewalks along North Bluff Road between Foster Street and Johnston Road.

The work is part of a $417,427 (excluding HST) effort to improve pedestrian and motorist safety along the thoroughfare east to Stayte Road. It includes moving utility poles out of the roadway, reconstructing the road base and replacing sections of curb and gutter.

City officials acknowledged in April that positioning of the utility poles was contributing to dangerous conditions for pedestrians and motorists alike. ICBC statistics noted the block between Foster Street and Johnston Road alone logged more than 200 “vehicle incidents” between 2006 and 2010.

Imperial Paving spokesman Al Campbell, who is a White Rock councillor, said Friday the first phase took 2½ weeks to complete.

The remaining work should be done by mid-October, he said.

sidewalk work

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