VANCOUVER, B.C. — British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell unveiled a comprehensive $3 billion plan to open up the province’s transportation network. The plan includes a new Pitt River Bridge, the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and a new South Fraser bypass route from Delta Port to Highway 1 in Surrey.
Details of the new plan were released on Jan. 31 in a Gateway Program Definition Report. The report includes a review of current transportation conditions in the Lower Mainland, future trends, proposed improvements to the region’s transportation network, and key activities to be carried out over the next 18 months.
“Our existing bridges and highways in the Lower Mainland are well beyond their designed capacities,” said Campbell. “The Port Mann Bridge is now congested for 13 hours a day and, on a bad day, it can take two hours to get from Burnaby to Langley. Truck traffic is being forced onto residential streets in Delta and Surrey that were never designed to carry them. Volume on the Pitt River Bridge has tripled over the last 15 years. We know improvements are needed and we need to take action now.”
Key elements of the Gateway Program include: The North Fraser Perimeter Road, including the new six-lane Pitt River Bridge, connecting Maple Ridge and New Westminster; The South Fraser Perimeter Road connecting Delta Port with the Golden Ears Bridge and Highway 1 in Surrey; Twinning the Port Mann Bridge, allowing for the re-introduction of transit service and including the potential for future light rail transit; Widening Highway 1 from Vancouver to Langley, including extension of HOV lanes into the Fraser Valley; A $50 million investment in cycling infrastructure, the largest in the history of the province.
The Gateway Program Definition Report details how economic growth, population growth and changing regional travel patterns are placing additional strain on the capacity, reliability and safety of British Columbia’s largest trade and commuter routes connecting ports, airports, rail yards, town centres and communities. At the same time, the report concludes that there has been little investment in the transportation infrastructure since the mid-1980s.
With the release of this report, a detailed public consultation will begin, starting this spring. These consultations will ensure project designs consider feedback on congestion, access, safety and reliability. Technical work, environmental assessment and design refinements will progress over the next 18 months.
More information on the Gateway Program, downloadable copies of the program definition report, a schedule of public consultations, artist renderings, graphics and maps are available online at www.gatewayprogram.bc.ca.
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