It seems more and more traffic will be added to the already congested George Massey Tunnel, says Mayor Lois Jackson.
Jackson was commenting on yet another report, this one a Canadian Environmental Assessment Act screening report for Port Metro Vancouver, that outlined how even more traffic will be headed through the 53-year-old crossing.
"We have been on this soapbox for a number of years. People on this soapbox have been saying to provincial and federal governments they know how many people we're going to have using it, but nothing has been done," she said.
Delta council recently discussed the 400-plus-page environmental assessment report on the Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Improvement Program. The series of road and rail enhancements are to help the existing container port increase capacity.
The screening report concludes that "with the implementation of proposed mitigation measures, the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental, socio-economic/community or cumulative effects."
However, a Delta staff report on the assessment notes the project will result in an additional 1,000 two-way average daily truck trips by 2017 (for a daily total of 4,500 trips), of which 35 per cent would use the tunnel.
This means there would be an additional 450 truck trips through the tunnel (for a daily total of 1,700). The report notes no specific mitigation is proposed for the tunnel.
However, Port Metro Vancouver is continuing to work on improving traffic management in South Delta.
Delta is asking the port authority to continue to work with senior levels of government to resolve the issue of congestion at the tunnel, "which remains a very significant concern for the Delta community."
Earlier this year, council agreed to commission a study of the economic impact of traffic congestion at the tunnel.
Officials hope the study will convince the provincial and federal governments of the need to commit funding to the crossing that opened in 1959.
A request for proposals for the study noted the tunnel's limited capacity is already contributing to severe traffic congestion.
The tender also noted a significant increase in the number of vehicle trips is expected from development of Tsawwassen First Nation land, the possible construction of Terminal 2 and residential growth south of the Fraser River. Jackson said the study is almost complete.
She said Delta officials have had meetings with the provincial ministry of transportation about the traffic situation.
"If you include the B.C. Ferries (terminal in Tsawwassen), the First Nation and the port and port expansion, in that one small area of the west coast, I think they thought the South Fraser Perimeter Road was going to be the solution to all the problems. In my opinion, we're going to have to analyze that pretty closely," she said.
"The ferries, First Nation and port simply go about their business, simply expecting all the infrastructure to be there for them."
Delta would like to see a planning process identify options to address both current traffic concerns as well as future traffic growth.
© Copyright 2013