The Gateway Program is a $3.0 billion  regional transportation project for Metro Vancouver that is being managed by the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation. The ministry introduced the Gateway Program on January 31, 2005, as a means to address growing congestion and reduce travel times.
Port Mann / Highway 1
The Port Mann / Highway 1 (PMH1) Project includes the widening of Highway 1, a new Port Mann Bridge, and upgrades to interchanges on British Columbia Highway 1 in order to address congestion through this corridor.
The Port Mann Bridge was replaced with a new 10-lane tolled bridge.
The project will also feature rapid bus lanes. This will include transit priority access to Highway 1, park-and-ride facilities, new transit loops in Surrey and Langley, and 20 new buses.
The bridge will include separated pedestrian and cycling lanes and is also designed to accommodate the eventual addition of light rail transit underneath the bridge.
The project includes widening Highway 1 between McGill Street in Vancouver and 216 Street in Langley. The pre-design concept included one additional lane in each direction between the Port Mann Bridge and McGill Street. The bridge itself features five new lanes, two reserved for high-occupancy vehicles and commercial vehicles. On the Surrey side, two additional lanes will be built from the bridge to 200 Street, allowing for one HOV lane in each direction. Finally, there will be one additional lane in each direction on the section from 200 to 216 Streets.
The majority of these changes will occur within the existing right of way of Highway 1. The PMH1 project is scheduled to be finished in 2013.
South Fraser Perimeter Road
The South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR), a new four-lane, 80 km/h (50 mph) highway along the south side of the Fraser River, will extend from Highway 17 in southwest Delta to 176 Street in Surrey, with connections to Highways 1, 91, and 99 and to TransLink's new Golden Ears Bridge connector. The SFPR will provide a new east–west transportation corridor that will provide new connections to the Roberts Bank Superport. The stated goal is to reduce the volume of regional truck traffic on local roads and reduce idling on local roads.
The Burns Bog Conservation Society has expressed concerns that the South Fraser Perimeter Road will endanger Burns Bog. Attempts to mitigate these impacts have been made through refinements that occurred as a result of public consultation and the Environmental Assessment process. In response to the mitigation measures proposed, the Environmental Stewardship Branch of Environment Canada wrote that "the changes are not sufficient to alleviate its concerns related to the impacts of the Project on Pacific Water Shrew (PWS), hydrology, aerial deposition, and ecological integrity of Burns Bog".
The Gateway Program says that it is committed to protecting and supporting the restoration of Burns Bog. The SFPR project will be working with the Burns Bog Scientific Advisory Panel to develop systems that will improve the existing drainage and hydrology of the bog. Although the SFPR alignment does not pass through the Burns Bog Ecological Conservancy Area, there is concern that it will affect the surrounding hydrology and have an adverse effect on the Conservancy Area.
The Wilderness Committee and other groups have criticized the SFPR, and the Gateway Program in general, for increasing greenhouse gas emissions. In the spring of 2011, a protest camp organized by StopThePave.org and the Council of Canadians occupied a SFPR construction site for almost two weeks.
North Fraser Perimeter Road
The North Fraser Perimeter Road (NFPR) was promoted as a way to provide a continuous route on the north side of the Fraser River from New Westminster to Maple Ridge. TransLink is responsible for the section between the Queensborough Bridge and the border of Coquitlam.
The Gateway portion of this route was to originate from the Bailey bridge across the Brunette River. The one-lane wooden bridge was to be replaced with a new four-lane crossing. The route follows United Boulevard and turns onto the Mary Hill Bypass. East of the new bridge, Lougheed Highway continues east through Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge. The intersection at Harris Road will be converted to a full interchange.
Pitt River Bridge and Mary Hill Interchange
The new Pitt River Bridge is a seven-lane cable-stayed bridge that carries the Lougheed Highway over the Pitt River; it was built between the two swing bridges that previously performed this duty. A new interchange has replaced the at-grade intersection of the Lougheed Highway and the Mary Hill Bypass.
The old swing bridges previously accommodated four lanes of traffic, two on each bridge, with a counterflow system for peak hours. The new bridge carries three lanes of general-purpose traffic in each direction, as well as one eastbound lane for slower-moving trucks accessing the Canadian Pacific intermodal yard at Kennedy Road.
The new bridge also includes separate pedestrian and cycling walkways. The new bridge is designed to accommodate the addition of light rapid transit.
The project is being funded by the federal and provincial governments. As part of its recent Asia–Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, the Government of Canada committed $90 million to the construction of the new bridge and interchange; the province provided $108 million.
Groups opposing the program include the Livable Region Coalition, a group based south of the Fraser called the Gateway 40 Network, a group of urban planners, the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation (SPEC), the Burns Bog Conservation Society, Sunbury Neighbourhood Association, South Fraser Action Networks, Bridgeview Community Action Group, Gateway Sucks, the Council of Canadians, and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee. These groups argue that increasing the highway's capacity will only increase traffic over the span and encourage suburban sprawl. The Livable Region Coalition urged the former Minister of Transportation, Kevin Falcon, to consider more viable solutions to reducing congestion, including more rapid transit and improved bus routes.
The provincial government studies, conducted as part of the environmental assessment process, project an increase of 176,000 tonnes per year in greenhouse gas emissions. An analysis by SPEC found that these studies included emissions in Whatcom County, Washington, when calculating the baseline and left them out when calculating the impact of Gateway. When this is factored in, the studies predict a 31% increase in road emissions.
Groups supporting the project include Get Moving BC and the BC Truckers Association.
|Wikinews has related news: Polar bears deliver environmental petition to Premier of British Columbia|
- "Gateway Program Definition Report" (PDF). Ministry of Transportation of British Columbia. January 31, 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
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- "Submission to Environmental Assessment Office". Burns Bog Conservation Society.
- June 18, 1998
- Burns Bog Conservation Society » Resources » Sustainable Development Strategy
- "Fraser Valley Conservation Coalition Submission to Environmental Assessment Office". Sunbury Neighbourhood Association.
- South Fraser Perimeter Road. Sunburyneighbourhood.ca. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
- Wilderness Committee. "Gateway to Global Warming". Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- Dawn, Paley (May 5, 2011). "Camp Closed, But Resistance Continues". Vancouver Media Co-op. Retrieved 1 September 2011.
- "South Fraser Perimeter Road, B.C.'s newest highway opens". Province of British Columbia. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
- "South Fraser Perimeter Road completed, officially opens today". Canada Newswire. December 21, 2013. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
- "Burnaby Public Consultation on Provincial Gateway Program" (PDF). City of Burnaby. Retrieved 2007-02-11.[dead link]
- "Standing Committee Minutes" (PDF). City of Vancouver. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- Ward, Doug (June 20, 2006). "Twinning Port Mann 'tough sell' at city council". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- "Will Freeway Expansion Kill the Livable Region? Questions about the B.C. Government’s Port Mann and Highway 1 proposal for the Vancouver Region" (PDF). The Livable Region Coalition. October 2004. Retrieved 2007-02-11.
- "Proposed twinning of the Port Mann Bridge and Highway 1 expansion" (PDF). David Suzuki Foundation. Retrieved 2007-02-11.