Government puts road scheme in gear
By MATT KIELTYKA
Transportation ministry plans announced yesterday call for twinning the Port Mann bridge along with other improvements.
The provincial government rolled out its $3 billion plan for the Lower Mainland yesterday, which includes the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge.
Premier Gordon Campbell laid out the individual plans, saying it will ease congestion, encourage public transit and keep the economy rolling.
The program included:
-Twinning of the Port Mann while adding transit and the ossibility of a light rail system in the future. A $2.50 toll is also being looked at for the bridge.
-A new six-lane Pitt River Bridge connecting Maple Ridge and New Westminster.
-New South and North Fraser Perimeter Roads.
-A $50-milion investment in cycling infrastructure.
While the idea of tolling the Port Mann isn't set in stone, Campbell said it would be foolish for the public not to consider it.
"There is a two-to-one cost benefit," said the premier, explaining how the money will help pay for the project, manage traffic flow and save commute times. "Tolling is there to pay for infrastructure. Sitting in traffic costs money too. We want to public to know about the upsides and the downsides of the project."
The plan has already met opposition. The Society Promoting Environment Conservation, which says more roads will mean more car-dependant development and will create more pollution.
Former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell was opposed to the idea of twinning the Port Mann while he was in office, but Sam Sullivan seemed to be positioning himself in the middle.
"I am keeping an open mind," he said. "I'm concerned about the
increased traffic into the neighbourhood of our city, what I would like see are options for transit and traffic demand management."
The province has set up a website highlighting their plans at