By Dan Ferguson
Jun 11 2006
Supporters of a tunnel for the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) in North Delta have released their own artist's concept showing the raised viaduct that will route container truck traffic beneath the Alex Fraser.
The Sunbury Neighbourhood Association said it produced its own picture because the Gateway Program has so far not released any drawings that show the full visual impact of raising the highway to clear the railroad tracks underneath the bridge.
Association member Don Hunt said the graphic is based on a description contained in preliminary design details released by Gateway.
Those plans call for two 382-metre-long viaducts, one for eastbound traffic, the other for westbound trucks, clearing the railway by seven metres.
Hunt said the raised road will spill noise and pollution onto the houses below.
"People are going to wear the freeway, Hunt said.
"It (the pollution) will carry all the way to Nordel."
Hunt said the raised route is more evidence that a tunnel would be preferable.
Gateway has ruled out a tunnel because of cost, estimating an underground road would cost $400 to $500 million compared to $180 million for a conventional highway.
Mike Proudfoot, executive director of the provincial Gateway program that is planning the route, said the viaduct beneath the Alex Fraser is required to separate truck and train traffic.
"An at-grade crossing would compromise safety," Proudfoot said.
He said the viaduct was the best solution to a "complicated" traffic area that combines trucks, trains and residential traffic next to the Fraser River and underneath a major bridge.
The residents group says Gateway has been too quick to dismiss the notion of a tunnel.
They argue the federal government should be funding the cost because the $800-million four-lane commercial road is being built to benefit the rest of Canada by unclogging congestion to and from international container ports in Delta and Surrey.
The funding, they say, could come out of the billions of dollars Ottawa has collected in gas taxes from B.C. over the years.
Construction of the road is scheduled to begin in 2007.
The next Gateway forum on the SFPR is scheduled for Tuesday June 13 at the Bridgeview Community Hall at 11475 126A Street from 6 to 9 p.m.