VICTORIA, B.C. -- The government of British Columbia will be pouring more than $200 million in various capital projects across the province, including the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway from Kamloops to the Alberta border and the beginning of work to replace the George Massey Tunnel, according to a recent announcement.
“We are taking some very important steps to drive the BC Jobs Plan forward,” B.C. Premier Christy Clark told delegates to the annual meeting of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. “By planning to replace the George Massey Tunnel and maintaining our commitment to complete four-laning of the Trans-Canada, we are supporting the communities that depend on them and growing our economy.”
“Our goal is to see the entire Trans-Canada Highway four-laned from Kamloops to Alberta,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Mary Polak. “We’ll be working with our federal government to seek matching funds to improve this corridor, which connects our Pacific Gateway with the rest of Canada. And we’ve heard the concerns from the communities south of the Fraser River about congestion through the Massey tunnel. My ministry will engage these local governments in the initial discussions on what a replacement might look like.”
The BC Trucking Association (BCTA) welcomed the announcement, saying that four-laning the Trans-Canada “will not only benefit trade, it will improve the safety of all drivers travelling that route.”
Louise Yako, BCTA president and CEO, says the province’s position as the Canada’s gateway to the Asia-Pacific depends on an efficient transportation network with capacity for growth.
“Container traffic through the Port of Vancouver is poised to grow, but that growth potential is constrained by Lower Mainland traffic congestion,” Yako said. “The new Port Mann Bridge, Highway 1 expansion and South Fraser Perimeter Road will be a huge help, but clearly the Massey Tunnel is a massive choke point that needs to be addressed within a predictable timeframe.”
The BCTA says the transportation projects will benefit Canada as a whole – therefore the federal government should join the province in ensuring the projects can be delivered in a timely fashion.
“Through federal-provincial cooperation, we’ve seen some critical highway improvements realized in BC over the past decade,” says Yako, pointing to projects such as improvements to Highway 1 through the Kicking Horse Canyon. “Support from all levels of government is necessary to ensure our transportation system keeps pace with the projected growth in Asia-Pacific trade.”