Third Crossing Society Calls for Road Link to the Island

By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: July 28, 2016

They are calling it the road to prosperity. Speaking to the Squamish council recently,Third Crossing Society director Gary Fribance said a road connection from Powell River to Squamish will drive tourism, boost the economy, reduce traffic bottlenecks at the ferry terminals and string together coastal and interiors communities.

The Third CrossingSociety, a citizens group in Powell River, was here to ask for district of Squamish’s support for a road they say will provide a third crossing from the Island. The route would go from Highway 10 of the Upper Sunshine Coast and connect to Highway 99 through Squamish Valley Road and Brackendale. It would require the building of 42 kilometers of new road and upgrading 185 kilometers of existing logging roads between Powell River and the Sea to Sky Highway. “We propose this third crossing – and the road from Port Mellon to Hwy 99 – with one eye on the present but with both eyes on the future – to a freedom of movement bound to attract retirees, businesses and investors, while relieving some of the congestion in the Lower Mainland and its attendant costs,” Fribance said.

He said the residents on the Island have no real access to the Mainland from Vancouver all the way to Prince Rupert. Gary said one has to travel 500 miles north to reach the Second Crossing, Highway 16, which serves the resource belt, stretching from the port of Prince Rupert east to Prince George and further to Alberta and beyond.  The time has come, he said for a Third Crossing, a new mid-province highway that can be stimulate the economies of more than half of Vancouver Island and the vast area north of the Lower Mainland. It’d be good for the economy as it brings new tourists while creating new playground for tourists and retirement havens for winter-weary seniors from across Canada. The roads would also ease the congestion on the ferry, he added.

Gary said the with the closure of two paper mills, and upwardly spiralling ferry fares, the coastal communities have fallen on hard times and their economy needs adjustment which can be provided by a mid-province corridor linking the vast regional economies of northern Vancouver Island and the area north of the Lower Mainland.

“Much of the infrastructure is already there and only needs improvements. Logging roads, upgraded to highway standards, connected by a modest 42 km of new road and one three-kilometre tunnel, would complete the connection. Do that, et voila, the province has its third crossing, the Port Mellon to HWY 99 connector,” he said.

The new highway would remove much of the congestion at the main ferry terminals in the south and produce enough operating and other savings at BC Ferries ($855 million) to pay for itself ($600 million), he added. In 1994 a proposed route was professionally mapped.

The route was confirmed by helicopter flights. In 2001 paper reconnaissance survey work was completed, digital mapping studies have been conducted and a proposed route, very similar to the 1994 route, was determined. In 2006 a virtual “fly through”, based on digital TRIM mapping and aerial and satellite photography was conducted. In 2015, BC government announced it will study the costs and benefits of a possible highway link between the Sunshine Coast and Metro Vancouver. The government said it plans to explore a number of potential connections ranging from a highway link around Jervis Inlet, to direct bridge connections along the coast. The costs and benefits of each will be assessed, and compared with ferry services. The BC government has put out a RFP for this study. 

Comments

  1. Garry Stefiuk says:

    Good idea just spent 320 each way to the island won’t do it again

  2. Ron Paradis says:

    The cost ,the ferry waits,the continuous repairs,families unable to visit due to high costs,medical appts. missed due to sailing waits,mechanical issues on the vessel, the list goes on.,really if you look at the long term,tax payers& ,the Goverment will save, the fact is the high cost now, is being subsidized by tax payers dollars ,would be a savings right from day one , a fair toll for everyone would a good idea . Jobs would be
    Created to maintain the hwy, toll booth jobs, three shifts , Bc Ferries could focus on tourism in otherAreas throughout Different parts were the existing vessels are also needed to reduce wait times.we have a lot of smart people in this ,province that an get the. Job done,Blessingsto those that understand the needs to start now, they did the coke hwy, & Squamish hwy, this is a clean sweep for those with the know how…

  3. Mike Adam says:

    Notify me of new posts on this subject.

  4. Joy Boulier says:

    A Third crossing would be great all around, not only for the people of Powell River and Sunshine Coast etc. but all.

  5. Robert Brennan says:

    Best idea in a very long time. Upper & Lower Sunshine Coast is deprived of 24 access. You either must take a ferry or a plane. It currently takes 6 to 7 hours to travel from Powell River to Vancouver. That is nearly two days of travel if you consider round trip. Then add in the cost of ferry or air. It is basically an injustice all the people in the entire Lower Mainland. I just hope the current feasibility study is not influenced by political forces at BC Ferries and else where to give it the thumbs down. It doesn’t require much of a study to determine this is a hugely needed infrastructure addition that will mutually benefit all of Lower Mainland residents from Vancouver to Powell River.