Bridge or road to Sunshine Coast would cost billions

Public asked to comment on possible fixed link to connect Gibsons, Powell River to mainland, replace ferries

One option for a fixed link to the Sunshine Coast would involve building a pair of suspensions bridges spanning Howe Sound at Anvil Island.

Four potential options to build new bridges or roads to create a fixed link to the Sunshine Coast have been short listed by the B.C. government and put out for public comment.

And any one of them would come with a hefty price tag.

The province is exploring the financial and physical feasibility of new routes to shorten the current travel times by ferry to communities like Gibsons, Sechelt and Powell River.

The most direct route from the mainland to the Gibsons area – at a cost estimated at $2 to $2.5 billion – would be a pair of 1.5-kilometre suspension bridges crossing from Brunswick Point on Highway 99 to Anvil Island and then across the rest of the Howe Sound.  That’s estimated to halve the travel time from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale to about 40 minutes from roughly an average of 80 minutes now by ferry.

A cheaper “Langdale Road” route at $1.5 to $2 billion would be to build 58 kilometres of new highway starting north of Squamish and running along the west side of Howe Sound to connect with the end of the Sunshine Coast road at Port Mellon.

The travel time from Horseshoe Bay by that route would be much longer – about 90 minutes – but about 45 minutes from Squamish.

Under both those scenarios the province would eliminate the existing Horseshoe Bay to Langdale ferry, but retain ferry service to Powell River at the other end of the Sunshine Coast.

The Langdale Road would effectively force all traffic to and from the Sunshine Coast to go through Squamish, adding to traffic congestion on busy sections of the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Also under consideration is a new highway following logging roads where possible on a route from Squamish running northwest, then around the north end of Jervis Inlet and then southwest to Powell River.

The new 200-kilometre highway – costing an estimated $2.5 to $3 billion – would cut the travel time from Horseshoe Bay to Powell River to three hours of driving, down from 4.5 hours now with two ferries. Both current ferry routes would be retained.

Another option for a pair of long suspension bridges connecting Powell River to the rest of the Sunshine Coast via Nelson Island would eliminate just the Saltery Bay-Earls Cove ferry service. It would cost an estimated $1.5 to $2 billion and wouldn’t end the need to take the Langdale ferry.

Other road or bridge alternatives, including a floating bridge or floating tunnel, were examined but did not make the short list.

Feedback is being collected online until Nov. 8 at gov.bc.ca/sunshinecoastfixedlink.

Some Sunshine Coast residents welcome the improved access a fixed link would bring, while others fear a deluge of increased traffic from the Lower Mainland, even though it’s expected any new route would be tolled.

A technical report by an engineering firm is due later this year with more detailed findings on the options.

Four short listed routes.

Just Posted

RCMP ask for help locating missing woman

Sheyna McNabb was last seen near King George and 96th Ave. in Surrey

Campaign pledge prompts Delta libraries reminder of parents, infant health programs

Mayoral candidate George Harvie promised to restore the BabyDaze program if elected

Pedestrian rushed to hospital after being hit by car in Surrey

Friday crash at 88th Avenue and 152nd Street is latest in rash of collisions involving pedestrians

Two women injured in late-night assault outside White Rock restaurant

‘All he had to do was turn around and leave’ - victim

Delta police warn public of Tsawwassen rental scam

Would-be renter asked to send a $1,300 deposit to a fraudulent Airbnb account

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

3 in serious condition after altercation on Granville strip: police

Patrol officers came upon the fight just after 3 a.m. on Granville Street near Helmcken Street

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Police say suspicious death of B.C. artist ruled a homicide

Patrick Zube Aylward’s body was found in a residence on a rural road outside of Seton Portage, west of Lillooet, B.C.

Temporary roads being built in areas affected by landslide in northern B.C.

Emergency Management BC news release says Disaster Financial Assistance is available to eligible residents of the Peace River Regional District who may have been affected by the landslides

Most Read