Transportation Minister Todd Stone at official opening of the South Fraser Perimeter Road Dec. 21.

New South Fraser highway opens, cuts travel times

Controversial SFPR came at cost in dollars and farmland

The South Fraser Perimeter Road is now open fully open, providing a major new route that improves traffic flow for truckers and other motorists South of the Fraser.

The new four-lane Highway 17 (the former Highway 17 to Tsawwassen is renamed Highway 17A) connects Deltaport to Highway 1 at 176 Street, with links to all five major crossings of the Fraser River from the Massey Tunnel to the Golden Ears Bridge.

“This new route is a game-changer for industry, commuters and tourists,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said at the Dec. 21 official opening.

“It will cut commute times for families and make B.C. more competitive by connecting key port and rail facilities with access to borders, the Tsawwassen ferry terminal and the B.C. Interior.”

The ministry estimates motorists will be able to get from Highway 1 in Surrey to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal in just 30 minutes via the SFPR, compared to an hour previously via Highway 10.

The new 37-kilometre truck route, with an 80 kilometre per hour speed limit, is expected to take pressure off Highway 10, which is heavily congested in Langley and Surrey, and pull trucks off other arteries, including River Road.

Originally estimated at $800 million, the project cost soared to $1.26 billion as a result of higher-than-expected costs of land acquisition and environmental mitigation. It was to be complete in 2012, but only partially opened that year, mainly to provide a free route to the Pattullo Bridge for drivers seeking to avoid the Port Mann Bridge toll.

The fully opened route now lets toll-avoiding drivers connect to either the Pattullo, the Alex Fraser Bridge or the Massey Tunnel.

The project was controversial.

Highway expansion opponents camped out for weeks at construction sites in protest and neighbourhood groups raised concerns about pollution and other impacts.

The project also paved over ancient aboriginal archaelogical sites and ran along the edge of Burns Bog.

But Independent Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington said the biggest impact has been the loss of about 1,000 acres of Delta farmland for the SFPR and other related Gateway road and rail upgrades.

It really has had an impact on agriculture,” she said. “Even though some of the irrigation projects that came with it were good for the farmers in east Delta.”

She and other critics fear the new transportation corridor will increase pressure to industrialize more agricultural land.

“I can see a scenario where most of the land in Delta – a mile on either side – will go,” Huntington said. “The big winner is the port and the transportation industry – they’re who it was built for.”

The province forecasts the route will generate 7,000 long-term jobs in Delta and Surrey by fostering industrial development.

Instead of a free-flowing route, the province decided to build the SFPR with traffic lights at three interchanges to avoid the cost of completing additional overpasses and ramps right now that officials said are not yet needed.

Various groups and politicians said that will mean more congestion and slower traffic flows than necessary.

The federal government contributed $365 million to the project.

The opening of the SFPR and also newly built lanes on Highway 1 west of the Port Mann Bridge has meant significant traffic pattern changes for some motorists this month.

 

SFPR BY THE NUMBERS

– 400,000 tonnes of asphalt used , enough to fill 63 Olympic swimming pools

– 15 overpasses and three interchanges

– 75,000 trees and shrubs planted

– $100 million in environmental and agricultural improvements to migitate impacts

– 30 minutes estimated travel time from Highway 1 in Surrey to Tsawwassen ferry terminal

– 30 minute estimated travel time from South Delta to Maple Ridge via Golden Ears Bridge

Just Posted

Donations needed for Putting on the Glitz in Maple Ridge

Two dress drives are being held in January

Pup ingested pot in Pitt Meadows

Walk along the dikes leaves five-month-old dog unable to walk

Pitt Meadows bans clothing donation bins

Anita’s mother grateful for “slow change” in getting rid of bins that killed her daughter

Letter: ‘Train horns were background noise’

Editor, The News: Re: UPDATED: No more horns from trains running through… Continue reading

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

Vancouver city council endorses free transit for youth

Mayor Kennedy Stewart will write a support letter to TransLink

Most Read