Bowen Road - Utility & Corridor Upgrades

Bowen Road Rendering

Each year the City of Nanaimo (City) undertakes capital improvement projects driven by growth, development, asset management, and other priority-based frameworks. As part of the City’s strategic planning process the 5-year Capital Plan identifies these projects and where possible combines those of similar scope and proximity to achieve economy of scale and a comprehensive product. There are several infrastructure improvements scheduled for construction within the Bowen Road corridor in 2020. As a result, these projects have been combined to create a comprehensive project that helps achieve the City’s goals.

Upgrades that Bowen Road (between Hwy 19A and Labieux Road) include, but are not limited to:


Bowen Road aims to increase the safety and comfort for people who walk, bike, take transit, and drive while ensuring that utility upgrades within the project area are completed with the proposed surface improvements. 

These safety improvements incorporated into the project are directly from the Provincial Government’s BC Community Road Safety Toolkit, created in the hopes of working towards Vision Zero in communities throughout the province.


If you have any comments or questions on the proposed improvements, please contact us at 250-756-5343 or email

  • Progress

    Project Update:

    November 2020:

    • Construction and landscaping is substantially complete!
    • Only outstanding items (due to weather) are the permanent road markings and a few deficiencies, planned for the first two weeks of November.
    • Please drive slowly and respect temporary road markings.
    • Thank you to everyone for their patience over the past 5 months.

    October 2020:

      • Bowen will be reduced to one lane in both directions from October 18-28th to install concrete bus slabs.
      • This month work is to include: concrete median islands, paving the northbound cycle track, driveway let downs, road markings, and landscaping.

      September 2020:

      • Prep work and paving is scheduled between September 20 - October 9th. 
      • Expect additional detours and delays during paving nights.

      August 2020:

      • Watermain installation has wrapped up. Crews are currently focusing on water connections and concrete work. Paving anticipated for the end of September.

      July 2020:

      • To accommodate construction and safety for workers, the center turn lane has temporarily been removed and detours set up to access Kenworth & Cienar from Labieux Road.

      June 2020:

      • Construction has started! Copcan Civil started mobilizing June 8th, with construction scheduled to start the week of June 14th.

      May 2020:

      • The Bowen Road project has been awarded to Copcan Civil Ltd.
      • Bowen Road Project FAQ has been added to the Details Tab. 
      • Construction is scheduled to occur at night (7pm - 7am) from June - November 2020.  
    • Documents
    • Details

      Bowen Road Project FAQ


      Q1: Why are the road upgrades along Bowen Road required?

      • Bowen Road is identified for pavement renewal and water distribution system replacement (over 800 meters of pipe under the road).
      • The Bowen Road project is a step towards the City’s asset management goals while providing a greener, more sustainable, multi-modal network that accommodates all user groups.
      • Nanaimo is one of the fastest growing communities in BC. This means the City must plan ahead to ensure sustainable modes of transportation are incorporated into today’s projects for future uses.



      Q2: Will the sidewalks on Bowen Road be replaced? What accessibility features will be included for more vulnerable users?

      • The existing sidewalks and curbs will remain in place; however, accesses will be rebuilt to maintain continuous sidewalks.
      • New curb ramps and a curb extension will be installed at Cienar Drive.
      • New tactile warning surface indicators (TWSIs) will be added to curb ramps and bus stops for the visually impaired.


      Q3: Will there be cycling facilities added to Bowen (Labieux to Hwy 19A)?

      • This project includes continuous routes for cyclists on both sides of the road.
      • The raised bike lanes on this portion of Bowen Road are designed to strengthen the connection from the E&N trail to Beban Park and the off-Bowen Bike Route.


      Q4: What safety features will be added? 

      • The project is primarily one of asset management. However, a few safety improvements incorporated into the Bowen Road project are from the Provincial Government’s BC Community Road Safety Toolkit, created in the hopes of working towards Vision Zero in communities throughout the province.


      Q5: How much will the improvements cost?

      • The improvements will cost approximately $2 million.



      Q6: Will Bowen Road be narrowed?

      • Yes; however, Bowen Road's lane widths are actually being 'right-sized'. The wide lanes throughout the City were actually originally designed to be shared-use lanes with a vehicle and a cyclist riding side-by-side. 
      • Given that the road is a truck route and bus route, the minimum lane widths required will still be maintained and will be the same as other busy roads throughout the City, such as Terminal Avenue. 
      • Narrowing travel lanes is a commonly used and recommended approach to traffic calming (as seen in the Provincial Government’s BC Community Road Safety Toolkit on Page 7 of Module 2).


      Q7: Who will maintain the sidewalks and medians?

      • As per the City’s current bylaw, snow clearing of sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.
      • Center medians will be maintained by the City. Plantings are chosen to be low-maintenance.


      Q8: When will this be built?

      • The project was tendered in April 2020 and will be constructed through the summer and fall months.
      • Bowen will be open to traffic during the day to reduce disruptions to businesses and traffic along the corridor.
      • Construction will be completed at night. Expect delays and use alternate routes between 7pm and 7 am.
    • Background

      Bowen Road is classified as an arterial roadway and is one of the City’s largest transportation corridors carrying approximately 20,000 vehicles a day, including transit and trucks. Currently RDN Transit runs the #30 and #40 along the corridor and it is included within the City’s municipal truck route network. The posted speed is 50km/hr accommodating a five-lane cross-section (two lanes in each direction with center turn bays).

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