A section of the Delta Nature Reserve boardwalk is set to be removed and rebuilt nearby as part of the province’s Highway 91/17 upgrade project.
A 186-metre stretch of the existing boardwalk is being removed to make room for a new vehicle ramp at the Highway 91 and Nordel Way interchange, and will be replaced with a new 167-metre section just east of the current path.
Tree clearing is tentatively scheduled to start mid-August, while boardwalk decommissioning and reconstruction are anticipated to start in the fall. Other sections of the boardwalk will remain open to the public while the realignment work is underway.
“The boardwalk is an important place for people to connect with nature and really experience the beauty of the place we’re so lucky to call home,” Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, speaking on behalf of Transportation Minister Claire Trevena, said in a press release. “Our government understands how valuable this boardwalk is for residents and visitors, and I’m grateful to our community partners for working with us to get it right.”
The project — which was planned in consultation with the City of Delta, Metro Vancouver and the Burns Bog Conservation Society — will provide improved access to environmental features, such as the hard hack meadow, with the addition of four new viewing platforms and benches, while minimizing impacts to wetland plant communities, avoiding mature forest and minimizing habitat loss for wildlife and at-risk species.
“The Delta Nature Reserve boardwalk is an important feature in Delta. It provides access to beautiful forested areas and allows the public to experience the unique plant life created by the bog,” Delta Mayor George Harvie said in a press release. “Our intent has always been to work with the province to rebuild the boardwalk. We understand how important the boardwalk is to Delta residents.”
The Delta Nature Reserve and its boardwalks and trails provide the only public access to Burns Bog. The 2,821-hectare peatland is the largest raised bog on the west coast of the Americas and the largest undeveloped landmass in North America.
In 2004, the City of Delta, Metro Vancouver, and the provincial and federal government agreed to purchase 2,043 hectares of the bog as an ecological conservancy, and since then another 435 hectares of bog have been added to the protected area. In total, 87 per cent of Burns Bog is currently protected and managed as a natural ecosystem.
The new vehicle ramp at the Highway 91 and Nordel Way interchange is part of the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure’s $260-million Highway 91/17 and Deltaport Way Upgrade Project package.
This phase of the project includes a number of safety and capacity enhancements such as better acceleration and merge lanes and new interchanges on Highway 91, Highway 17 and the Highway 91 Connector aimed at increasing highway efficiency and providing an easier commute for residents and commercial vehicles.
Included in the project are improvements to Highway 91 at the Nordel Interchange, upgrades to the Highway 91 Connector at the Nordel Way intersection, a new interchange at Highway 17 and the Highway 91 Connector in Sunbury, and a new interchange at River Road connecting to Highway 17.
The expected completion date for the project is 2023.