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

Greater Victoria transit usage sees gradual rise

Ridership still down 66 per cent compared to last year

Name of victims ‘ripped down’ from Victoria display

Organizers feel the act is ‘malicious’

Government Street becomes pedestrian-priority corridor

One block of downtown street closed to cars entirely

Saanich property tax notices in the mail, residents unable to pay in person

Payment options, late penalties adjusted due to COVID-19

Saanich teen launches free online tutoring website

School Helpers matches volunteer tutors with students

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Cortes Island affordable housing project hangs by a thread

Regional decision makers resort to COVID-19 concerns despite virtual meeting option and push hearing to September

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

North Island recreation camping site closed due to vandalism

Damage happens every year, forcing site manager to reallocate improvement budget to repairs

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Seniors to receive up to $500 in promised COVID-19 emergency aid in early July

The Liberal government first promised the extra help in mid-May, but had to create a new system to deliver the aid

VIDEO: Revelstoke bear wanders into Animal House pet store

Staff got ready to chase it out with a broom

Man found dead in his tent at Island homeless camp

Facebook posts tell of personal struggles and attempts to stay clean and sober

Most Read