Do you like Merge, the new public art of North Vancouver?

For too long, it was a traffic jam on a construction site. But The Cut’s bottom takes on a whole new look.

Artist Rebecca Bayer puts the finishing touches on Merge, a 366-meter-long cluster of colors that stretches along Highway 1 between Mountain Highway and Fern Street.

This is one of the last pieces of the $ 200 million Lower Lynn improvement project, designed to protect the Inter River neighborhood from highway noise. But it is also now probably the largest public art work on the North Shore.

“A sound barrier wall can be very mundane and boring, but my hope with bright colors is that it looks more interesting and vibrant on both sides. It can be experienced at a slow pace, but also quite a fast pace if you drive along the freeway, and it kind of fades when you drive, ”she said. “I’m pretty excited about the public art that really blends into the infrastructure or the architecture, and it just becomes part of something that was already going to be there anyway.”

Bayer chose the 20 different colors specifically because they are found in the flora, fauna and monuments of the Lynn Valley area. Bayer consulted with the Lynn Canyon Ecology Center to match colors with individual species like the red-backed salamander, Pacific chorus frog, and licorice fern. She then tried different permutations to find the pattern that exists today.

“There is a pretty incredible nature reserve there,” she said. “It made sense to try and work with the natural palette one way or another. “

On the Inter River side, species names appear on some signs, which Bayer says will allow Merge to to educate as much as to embellish.

Lori Phillips, the North Vancouver District public arts manager who assisted with Bayer’s selection process for the project, said he was doing both.

Merge is a perfect example of the magic that can happen when artists are added to infrastructure projects. Suddenly, a rather low-key sound wall turns into a dynamic public art work, free and accessible to all, ”she said. “The North Vancouver District Public Art Program was delighted to partner with the [Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure] on this project and we know that the residents of Lynnmour, as well as the thousands of commuters and commuters on Highway 1, will enjoy its masterful fusion of color and story, for years to come.

Even if the noise barriers / art canvas disappear, the panels are a “world-class sound attenuation product” designed to neutralize sound, not just bounce it away from residences, said Mark Hersey, managing partner of Solid Rock Fencing, the company responsible for installing the 623 panels.

Today there are only a few gaps in the wall, which will be filled when the last panels arrive from Europe, Hersey said.

The final elements of the Lower Lynn Improvement Project, including the combination of the Main Street and Dollarton Freeway ramps into one with traffic control with signage, are expected to go live later this autumn.

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