By Jeff Nagel
Apr 15 2005
Plans for a truck freeway through North Delta may be
reworked to ensure there's no access into the local
More than 250 residents got a pledge from Gateway program
officials at a Tuesday night public meeting to at least
reconsider and refine plans for the $800-million South
Fraser Perimeter Road.
"If it needs to be revisited that's exactly what we're
committed to doing," said Gateway executive director Mike
Proudfoot. "We'll have more dialogue with the community to
get it right.
"It's quite clear there needs to be some more evaluation of
He was in the hotseat after a three-year-old route design
displayed at the meeting showed off- and on-ramps connecting
the perimeter road to the neighbourhood at Centre St. and
Delwood Drive - to the protest of local residents.
"We do not need a connector so you can go flying through
this residential area," said River Road resident Raija
McDonald. "Save yourselves millions of dollars - just forget
Intended to hasten cargo-laden trucks from expanded ports
through congestion in Delta and Surrey onto Hwy 1, the
proposed road is also being held up as a way to return River
Rd. to the neighbourhood.
There would be no freeway tie-ins at the north and south
ends of River Rd., residents were told. Local traffic would
enter and exit the community via Nordel Way.
Other elements of the project also came under fire,
including the possible elimination of heritage homes, the
elevation of the freeway, and its effects on slope
"From what I understand so far your plans are to expropriate
homes from families who've lived in this region, some for 75
years," resident Don Hunt told Proudfoot. "You're also
prepared to bulldoze heritage homes, bald eagles' nests and
put on- and off-ramps leading up five residential streets."
"All of this is unacceptable."
He and others demanded project planners take a closer look
at placing the route in a tunnel instead, perhaps paid for
by a levy on containers arriving at the Fraser's expanding
Proudfoot pointed out that a tunnel would be much more
expensive. He also said it may not be possible to transport
dangerous goods through a long tunnel.
Gateway officials anticipate more public forums in the fall,
although Delta may host its own meetings sooner.
City staff are to report back to council May 30 with a
report recommending the city's strategy going forward.
If the project advances to an approved design, it could
undergo an environmental assessment next year.
Once final approval comes, Proudfoot said, construction is
estimated to take four to five years.
Many residents at the meeting said they just want the road
to be built and to get on with their lives. Others said they
feel held to ransom, unable to sell their homes because of
Officials estimate 4,000 trucks per day use River Rd.,
amounting to about a third of total traffic on the route.
Mayor Lois Jackson said it's clear from the meeting
residents oppose a connection to River Rd. from the
"From my perspective that would defeat the purpose of a
through truck route at 80 kilometres per hour," she said.
"You don't go in putting stop lights and ramps in a place
Jackson said she's not optimistic that residents will get
their wish for a tunnel or for truck traffic to be routed on
an altogether different route.
"I suppose if we all had our wish come true we wouldn't have
any traffic in front of our homes," Jackson said. "I think
we have to mitigate, minimize and do whatever we can."