25 August 2010

Another reason to stop building the SFPR

No relief for commuters under Fraser mouth
New ring road won't ease congestion
By Brian Lewis, The Province

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{This posting has been edited}

If you commute daily through the George Massey Tunnel and think that the $1.2-billion South Fraser Perimeter Road will ease the 51-year-old crossing's congestion when it opens in 2013, you'd better think again.

Government figures show that current truck traffic through the tunnel stands at about 15,600 per day but, on completion of the SFPR, is estimated to drop to 15,000 daily trips.

A reduction of about 600 trucks daily isn't going to do much for commuters who use the tunnel, especially when you consider the population growth now under way in many communities south of the Fraser.

"Even when I was on Delta council a few years ago, we knew the proposed SFPR wasn't going to do much for traffic congestion at the tunnel," says Guy Gentner, the NDP MLA for Delta North, who was a Delta councillor between 1999 and 2005.

"So, yes, there have been lots of alternatives to building the SFPR, but the government simply didn't do its homework," he adds.

Gentner agrees with other critics that, given coming population growth in Delta and Surrey, there's far more need for another Fraser River crossing or expansion of the Massey Tunnel. Both these options would serve all sectors of the community, rather than spending just over $1 billion to build a freeway through fertile Delta farmland next to the highly sensitive Burns Bog preserve, simply to accommodate container trucks serving Deltaport.

"The SFPR is going to be a bloody mess," Gentner predicts.


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