Sunbury Neighbourhood Association

To:                  Mayor and Council

From:             Ian Radnidge, Director of Engineering


Date:              May 27, 2005

Subject:        River Road, South Fraser Perimeter Road and the Sunbury Neighbourhood





Delta has held two public meetings in the Annieville and Sunbury neighbourhoods regarding traffic concerns expressed by the residents.  The first meeting was held on November 24, 2004 in the Sunbury Hall, to hear concerns of residents regarding truck traffic on River Road.  The second meeting was held on April 12, 2005 at the Brooke Elementary School.  The purpose of the second meeting was initially to report back to the residents on what actions the municipality had undertaken to address concerns regarding truck traffic on River Road.  However, discussions with residents prior to the meeting indicated there would be greater interest in discussing the proposed South Fraser Perimeter Road, so the agenda for the meeting was revised.  The design concept for the section of the South Fraser Perimeter Road has been ongoing for some time.  This memo will provide a brief history of the design concept for this roadway and suggest additional concept options, which could be considered as the concept design is refined leading to a preliminary design.


Public Meeting – River Road, November 24, 2005

Over 250 residents attended the first public meeting.  At this meeting the residents identified a number of issues concerning River Road, including:

  • High truck traffic volumes;
  • Material from open dump trucks spilling out;
  • Slow moving trucks difficult to pass;
  • Noise from truck engines and “Jake” brakes all hours of day and night;
  • Trucks honking horns when traveling through intersections;
  • Difficulty seeing road when exiting driveways near 92A Avenue;
  • Limited sight distance at Brooke Road;
  • Excessive vehicle travel speeds during some hours of the day;
  • Trucks speeding and not stopping for traffic signals;
  • Traffic sometimes ignoring traffic signals at Norum Road/90th Avenue and at 92A Avenue;
  • Traffic congestion at Brooke Road and at Collings Way; and
  • Pedestrian crossing difficulties at Brooke Road and at bus stop locations.

In response to these concerns, Delta undertook a number of actions.  Delta Council submitted a request to the TransLink Board for a truck traffic prohibition along River Road from Nordel Way to the inter-municipal boundary with the City of Surrey.  This request was not supported by the TransLink Board. Council has subsequently, requested a night-time ban of truck traffic on River Road, which is still pending a review by TransLink.  The Delta Police conducted a number of targeted enforcement actions for speeding, red light running, and truck loading; and raising public awareness of the travel speed issue.  The Engineering Department has completed or is proceeding with the following:

  • Reviewed and improved traffic signal timings;
  • Reviewed sight distance adequacy along River Road;
  • Conducted 24 hour surveys of traffic volume by vehicle type and vehicle speed along the corridor to quantify traffic and travel speed issues;
  • Initiated a project to upgrade advance flashing warning at the traffic signal at Norum/90th Avenue;
  • Initiated a project to install overhead illuminated signing at the pedestrian crossing at Brooke Road; and
  • Completed a comprehensive study on Truck Traffic Safety in Delta to identify and mitigate conditions, which are cultivating poor road safety performance in the trucking industry.

Public Meeting – South Fraser Perimeter Road, April 12, 2005

Over 300 residents attended the second public meeting.  At this meeting, a summary of identified issues and actions taken was provided on storyboards and handouts during a pre-meeting open house session.  This was again briefly discussed at the start of the meeting, followed by a brief presentation by the Gateway Program on the design concept for the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) through North Delta.  The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to a question and answer session focused mainly on issues of residents with the SFPR design concept.  Action items from the second meeting include the following:

  • Engineering to review why there is no sidewalk along the south side of River Road from McAdam Road to Russel Drive;
  • Delta and Gateway Program to review SFPR design concept in light of residents concerns with proposed access to the neighbourhood;
  • Further public consultation sessions regarding the SFPR design concept and neighbourhood access to be arranged;
  • Gateway to reexamine the tunnel option for the SFPR through North Delta;
  • The Sunbury Neighbourhood Association was invited to attend the May 30, 2005 Regular Meeting of Council in North Delta to make a presentation.

Sidewalk – River Road

There is no sidewalk along the south side of River Road for about 570 metres between McAdam Road and Russell Drive.  The project scope for Phase One of the River Road Reconstruction Project, completed in 2000, did not include a sidewalk along the south side of this section of road.  A sidewalk was not deemed to be a requirement since there are no houses fronting onto this section of roadway and the “Safe Route to School” routing is not along this section of River Road.  As an alternative, pedestrians are provided with crosswalks at the intersections with Brooke Road and Russell Drive to direct them to the north side of the roadway where a sidewalk is provided for travel along the corridor.    River Road traverses a deep ravine and a steep side slope along this section.  By not providing a sidewalk, the ravine crossing road cross-section width and the side slope cut were reduced, reducing the cost of the reconstruction project by about $500,000.  The scoping of the River Road Reconstruction Project included input from public consultation with the Annieville and Sunbury neighbourhoods, and was reported to Council by the Engineering Department on January 7, 2000 and April 3, 2000.  At this point, it would not be economically feasible to widen the road cross section to accommodate the standard two metre wide sidewalk.  However, it would be possible to provide a 1.2 metre wide sidewalk along the south side of this section of River Road for around $400,000 +/-.  Portions of this sidewalk would need to be suspended over the steep slope to reduce costs and minimize intrusion into the environmentally sensitive ravine area.  This project is not budgeted for at this time.

SFPR Design Concept and Access to the Sunbury/Annieville Neighbourhoods

The South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) has been proposed and studied since 1992.  The GVRD's Transport 2021 Plan and the GVRD Livable Region Strategic Plan completed in 1995 both proposed the SFPR.  More recently in 1998, the Ministry of Transportation (MoT) initiated a Planning and Preliminary Design Study of an east-west transportation corridor from Highway #91 to Highway #15 along the south side of the Fraser River.  This corridor was intended to be developed as an expressway standard four-lane (80 km/h) facility which at some future date could be upgraded to a freeway standard facility. 

The Ministry retained the firm of Associated Engineering Ltd. to conduct the Planning and Preliminary Design Study.  During the Study, the Ministry held a public open house in North Delta, in January 2000, to seek public input for the preliminary design for the section of the road between Nordel Way and 96th Avenue.  At the public open house the Ministry presented a design concept for the SFPR through the Sunbury/Annieville neighbourhoods.  This design concept proposed closing River Road at Terrace Drive and at Brooke Road, and direct access to the SFPR at Centre Street and Brooke Road. 

Following this meeting, in March 2000, the Corporation of Delta retained the firm Creative Transportation Solutions Ltd. (CTS) to study access options between the SFPR and the residential neighbourhoods in North Delta.  The CTS Study analyzed four access options:

§       Option 1 – no connection to the SFPR;

§       Option 2 – connection to the SFPR at Centre Street and Terrace Drive;

§       Option 3 – same as Option 2 and an eastbound on-ramp at Knudson Road; and

§       Option 4 – same as Option 2 and a full access interchange at Elevator Road.

The CTS Study recommended Option 3 as the preferred concept for connection to the SFPR in the Sunbury/Annieville Neighbourhoods.  This technical study was shared at a staff level with the Ministry of Transportation.        

In August 2001, Associated Engineering completed the SFPR Planning and Preliminary Design Study.  This study proposed a design concept for the SFPR through the Sunbury/Annieville neighbourhoods, which included an eastbound right – in/right – out access at Delwood, a westbound right – in/right – out access at Centre Street, and an eastbound onramp at Knudson Road.  The findings of the Associated Engineering Study were reported to Council by the Engineering Department in January 2003.  The Gateway Program at a workshop also presented the design concept for this section of the SFPR to Council on June 9, 2003.

At the April 12, 2005 Public Meeting, it was clear that many residents in the Sunbury/Annieville neighbourhoods did not support the neighbourhood accesses proposed in the current design concept for the SFPR.  The residents are concerned that having direct access to a freeway on the north and access to a Major Regional Road (Nordel Way) on the south will attract regional traffic to go through the neighbourhoods.  Staff agree that this is a valid concern.  Staff also note, that generally local roads are not connected directly to freeway class roadways, such is the case with Highway #1 in the Greater Vancouver Area.  However, the option of no access to the SFPR and only one access to the neighbourhoods (Nordel Way and Brooke Road) was studied by CTS and found to be very poor in terms of capacity, congestion and convenience.  Ideally, the neighbourhoods should have two or more access points by connecting River Road either west to Nordel Way or east to Grace Road, or both. 

From a Workshop with Council held on May 16, 2005, it is staff's understanding that Council desires to pursue the following courses of action:

§            A project to install a sidewalk along the south side of River Road, between McAdam Road and Russell Drive, was recognized to have high costs.  A decision on further pursuit of this sidewalk project was deferred until after the May 30, 2005 Council Meeting;

§            Request the Provincial Gateway Program to prepare a public consultation program for the fall to discuss access options with the neighbourhoods;

§            Request the Provincial Gateway Program to consider alternative road cross sections for the SFPR project through North Delta section which should include;

o       No tiers of the travel lanes and lanes at same elevation as existing railway,

o       Cut and cover with greenway/pathway on top, and

o       Snow shed type closure with linear greenway/pathway on top.

A summary presentation of this material will be provided at the May 30, 2005 Council Meeting.  Should you have comments or questions, please contact me at (604) 946-3279. 

Ian Radnidge, P.Eng
Director of Engineering


cc:       George V. Harvie, Chief Administrative Officer

            Tim Murphy, AScT, MBA, Manager of Roads & Transportation