The final section of the Old Spences Bridge is removed March 11

Bridges, blacktop in B.C. transportation plan

10-year program includes trucking strategy and provincial cost sharing for community airports and bike lanes

A 50 per cent increase in bridge rehabilitation and 1,000 km of highway repaving each year are included in a 10-year transportation plan released Tuesday by B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

The plan also includes $24 million over three years to pay a provincial share of community airport improvements and an $18 million fund for bike lanes and cycling trails.

A province-wide trucking strategy is also included in the plan, which restates several projects previously announced by the government. They include work on a replacement for the Massey tunnel under the Fraser River in South Delta, planning for a second bridge across Okanagan Lake at Kelowna, and conversion of BC Ferries vessels to use liquefied natural gas fuel.

Overall the plan includes $800 million over three years to upgrade existing infrastructure and nearly $1 billion toward expansion of major highways.

With an eye to an aging as well as growing population, disabled access projects are to include accessible washrooms and curbs at highway rest areas and wheelchair accessible taxis in communities around B.C.

NDP transportation critic Claire Trevena called the 10-year plan “insulting to the people of B.C.,” with only three years of funding promised and most of the improvements already announced.

“There are lots of vague promises that have been made for many years,” Trevena said. “For instance the four-laning of the Trans-Canada to the Alberta border, finishing off the Cariboo Connector, finishing off bridges.

“If you’re investing in bridges, let’s get some strategic analysis of our bridges, and where we need them and how we’re going to pay for them.”

With ballots going out to Metro Vancouver voters for a plebiscite on funding new transportation improvements through a regional 0.5% sales tax, the provincial plan focuses heavily on rural areas. It includes an increase to $270 million over three years to upgrade provincial side roads and $60 million for resource roads in the northeast B.C. gas patch.

One major commitment for the Lower Mainland is to continue the six-laning of Highway 1 from Langley to Abbotsford.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Third time lucky for Freedom Mobile cell tower in Sooke

Council approves tower after cell provider applies multiple times

Petition calls for suspension of Victoria councillor Ben Isitt

Isitt says petition ‘does not provide a reliable barometer of public opinion’

Grave site at Ross Bay Cemetery vandalized overnight

Graffiti found on grave of Sir James Douglas

T’Sou-ke First Nation mired in legal woes over gas station development

Claims and counterclaims leave sub-contractors unpaid

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Resident discovers five discarded hog heads in Vancouver Island ditch

WARNING: Graphic image may be upsetting to some readers

Canadian Premier League announces 2020 home dates for eight-team circuit

Pacific FC hosts FC Edmonton on April 11 in Langford

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Meet the Wet’suwet’en who want the Coastal GasLink pipeline

Supporters of the pipeline are upset only one side is being heard nationwide

Most Read