VICTORIA, B.C. — Transportation Minister, Judith Reid, yesterday suggested that a mega-bridge be built to link B.C.’s Lower Mainland with Vancouver Island in order to alleviate ferry traffic.
It’s not a new idea, a former government considered such a plan but it was shelved due to environmental, technical and financial concerns.
But Reid says, “These are ideas that deserve to be investigated. I don’t know if we’re there with the engineering at this point in time. We should look at whether it’s viable. We don’t know at this point.”
The suggestion came out of a government report released yesterday into the management of B.C. Ferries. Reid insists a bridge could help the ferry corporation win in the long run.
“The long-term viability of the ferries is being called into question and we have to do something,” says Reid. “We have to be able to put in on a sound footing in order to accomplish the goal of providing the service in a cost-effective manner.”
Reid cites the Confederation Bridge in P.E.I. as a success story that the new bridge could be modeled after, noting there was controversy and skepticism when that project was first announced.
Jim Abram, spokesman for rural Vancouver Island ferry users scoffed at the plan.
“Let’s take a dose of reality here,” he tells local media. “It will totally change the character of the island. It will make it a suburb of Vancouver.” That may not be a bad thing for trucking companies that routinely shell out big bucks and lose hours while waiting for ferry sailings.
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