The NDP – Blacktopping Its Way Out Of Congestion

The NDP government is going to try to blacktop its way out of congestion despite the fact that added road space only attracts more vehicles, thus adding to congestion and gridlock at choke points.

You cannot blacktop your way out of congestion!

The updated cost for the the full build Leewood Study is now $1,5 billion for 130 km stretch of line, connecting Vancouver to Chilliwack, providing a maximum of three trains per hour.

Today’s cost for a Fraser Valley TramTrain or light DMU service is $11.5 million per km to build and provide a potential maximum capacity of around 3,000 persons per hour per direction, depending on vehicle size and number of vehicles used (max.2).

As stated in the article, adding one or two lanes to the number 1 will cost anywhere from $33 million/km to $38 million/km and at best, provide an additional capacity of around 1,000 to 2,000 pphpd!

So there you have it, the oh so Green NDP will spend a lot more per km for road expansion, that to reinstate a badly needed Passenger rail service, connecting Vancouver to North Delta, Cloverdale, Langley, Abbotsford, Yarrow/Sardis, and Chilliwack.

The Leewood Study/Rail for the Valley plan provides more capacity at a third less cost per kilometre than expanding Hwy.1!

Billion-dollar price-tag for Fraser Valley highway widening

Widening Highway 1 to Whatcom Road in Abbotsford could cost more than $1 billion, according to an internal government estimate obtained exclusively by The Current.

The megaproject would span 24 kilometres, but nearly half the projected cost could be consumed by a short 5-kilometre stretch of road with a potential half-billion-dollar price tag, the documents show.

The figures are included in a memo prepared in April of 2019 by the deputy director of the Ministry of Transportation’s south coast regional office. The projections were completed prior to the NDP’s promise in 2020 to widen the highway to Abbotsford, and before the Whatcom Road terminus was included in the mandate letter of Bowinn Ma, BC’s minister of state for infrastructure. The Current reported last week that the province has set an ambitious 2026 completion goal for the project.

Work is already underway to widen the highway to 264th Street, but the billion-dollar figures don’t include that stretch of road. The 2019 documents caution that only “initial planning” for the Abbotsford segment had been completed. In response to questions by The Current, a provincial spokesperson said planning work currently underway would determine the project’s final budget and projected cost.

The documents predict it could cost around $400 million to widen the highway from 264th to Mt. Lehman Road. That works out to about $33 million per kilometre.
The next segment, a 6.5km stretch between Mt. Lehman and McCallum roads, could cost $250 million—about $38 million per kilometre. That would include replacing the Peardonville overpass.

But it was the final stretch, between McCallum and Whatcom roads, that seems likely to drive the price beyond the billion-dollar mark.

That 5km stretch could cost a staggering $500 million to upgrade—a cost of $100 million each kilometre. The figure reflects the need to replace the Whatcom overpass, the interchange with Highway 11/Sumas Way, and the nearby overpass across two rail lines. The combined projected total for the entire length of the project adds up to about $1.1 billion.

The widening also means a large bill will be on the way for the City of Abbotsford—and its taxpayers—because municipalities are asked to fund the cost of interchanges. Although the city will avoid the bill for the Sumas Way interchange because it involves two provincial highways, it will still have to cover the cost of a new interchange at Whatcom Road and a new Peardonville overpass. Each overpass is likely to cost the city tens of millions of dollars.

The province has not promised to widen the highway for another 31km to Chilliwack, but the cost projections hint at the large cost of doing so. (Any such expansion would also require a new Vedder Canal crossing.)

For the original story including documents, please click here


2 Responses to “The NDP – Blacktopping Its Way Out Of Congestion”
  1. nathan davidowicz says:

    Transit ridership will take 4 or 5 years to recover to the PRE-COVID ridership levels. Even prior to COVID ridership per capita in Metro Vancouver was half of Montreal/Toronto ( 100 vs 200)With so much free parking available ( including Hospitals ) many people will continue driving as TransLink charges $3 per day at many Park & Ride lots.( It is free in Toronto ) Need a mass investment in transit to get people out of their cars together with the elimination of the many free parking perks that many employers offer. Congestion pricing similar to NYC tolls is needed.The BC Budget will be delivered on April 20th but it is unlikely to provide any substantial increase in funding to Transit and Active Transportation. Back in the 1970s, the Dave Barrett government doubled the number of buses plus two SeaBuses in 3 years and no one has matched that.  April 6, 2021

  2. Basingstoke says:

    The NDP criticised the Liberals when they got rid of BC Rail and do nothing now to bring it back. Liberals started the widening of Highway 1 from Vancovuer to Langley that cost $3 billion. They just continue the BC Liberals plan. They can’t even restore the rail line on Vancouver island. A tram from the fraser valley could be greated if it is integrated with the existing skytrain. A maximum of three trains per hour is not good enough. It needs to be more frequent. Try double tracking the old rail line in the fraser valley. The NDP want everyone driving electric cars to pay for that expensive dam in northern BC.

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