This week in BC Transportation news saw new eyes in the sky and other DriveBC upgrades, the bona fide benefits of transit police, highway investments in the South Coast region and the official opening (and blessing) of the Squamish Nation Pedestrian Overpass. So, gather round the ol’ computer screen and get ready for a week in review.
Eighteen New Eyes in the Sky and More!
As recent snow flurries in mountain passes remind us that winter weather will soon be here, we activated another 18 new highway webcams this week as well as announcing upgrades to the Route Planner feature on DriveBC. A total of 30 new webcams are being added to the network this year, bringing the number of webcam images available on DriveBC to more than 250.
Webcams are just one tool to help you plan your journey. DriveBC also features a Route Planner, which has been upgraded to take into consideration any delays, road closures and border waits along the way. In addition to showing them as icons on the map, the turn-by-turn directions will include the information on any highway message signs associated with that route, and webcam images to give you a full picture.
Seymour West Forest Service Road Closed
If you frequent the Upper Seymour River Provincial Park, you might be interested to learn that the Seymour West Forest Service Road (a dead-end road about 25 kilometres north of Seymour Arm) will be permanently closed at 34 kilometres starting Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012. The bridge is unsafe and must be removed to ensure the safety of travellers on the road. The bridge will not be replaced. All other park access points, including those from 1100 FSR, will still be open for use.
Big Numbers for Highway Improvement
Significant investments were announced on Friday to aid in highway improvements to reduce congestion, increase safety and support public transit for families, commuters and commercial drivers in Surrey, Langley and Delta over the next three years. Check out this map for a visual of where the work will happen on these projects:
- In Surrey, the existing 16th Avenue overpass over Highway 99 will be replaced with a new interchange to reduce congestion and improve safety. This new interchange will provide better access for residents of South Surrey and Langley to Highway 99 and across 16th Avenue. It will also accommodate growing cross-border travel and help remove trucks from 32nd Avenue. Construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2013 and is expected to finish in fall 2014.
- Also in Surrey the Park and Ride facility on Highway 99 at King George Highway will be expanded to improve access to public transit. The new lot will be located inside the existing interchange loop and will add over 300 spaces to the facility.
- In Delta, improvements to the Highway 99/South Fraser Perimeter Road interchange will support public transit and reduce congestion by widening Highway 99 to include a new dedicated lane for public transit vehicles travelling through the interchange when this portion of the South Fraser Perimeter Road opens next year.
- In Langley, a new truck climbing lane will be added to Highway 1 between 232nd and 264th Streets to reduce congestion and increase safety. This third eastbound lane will provide additional room for transport trucks to merge and travel safely along this stretch of highway. In addition, as part of this project, the 248th Street overpass will be replaced with a new structure.
Squamish Nation Pedestrian Overpass Officially Opened
On Friday of this week, we celebrated the official opening and blessing of the Squamish Nation Pedestrian Overpass. The Province partnered with the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre (SLCC) through the SLCC’s Cultural Journey Phase II project. Cultural Journey Phase II was partially funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada. The Province and the SLCC worked with a Squamish Nation artist who collaborated with overpass designers. Several Squamish Nation cultural elements are incorporated into the overpass design, with the end result being a unique, aesthetic and culturally significant overpass.
Chief Gibby Jacob, Squamish Nation said: “Today marks the fulfillment of a longstanding commitment. This overpass not only provides convenient and safe access across the highway for our people, but it also reconnects our lands, and showcases our connection to our territory. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without strong partnerships.” Read more about the overpass or watch the time-lapsed video of the bridge installation.
Transit Crime Down a Record 17%
For the second year in a row, crime has been significantly cut on Metro Vancouver’s transit system. In the first half of 2012, a record 17 per cent reduction in crimes against people was achieved while policing overtime costs were cut by 50 per cent. Customers reported they feel much safer on the system; with perceptions of transit safety on the rail system improved by over 10% per cent since 2009.
That’s a wrap for transportation news on the move across the province. Stay connected with us all week long, by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr. Thanks for tuning in, see you next week!