Bridge or road to Sunshine Coast would cost billions

Public asked to comment on possible fixed link to connect Gibsons, Powell River to mainland, replace ferries

One option for a fixed link to the Sunshine Coast would involve building a pair of suspensions bridges spanning Howe Sound at Anvil Island.

One option for a fixed link to the Sunshine Coast would involve building a pair of suspensions bridges spanning Howe Sound at Anvil Island.

Four potential options to build new bridges or roads to create a fixed link to the Sunshine Coast have been short listed by the B.C. government and put out for public comment.

And any one of them would come with a hefty price tag.

The province is exploring the financial and physical feasibility of new routes to shorten the current travel times by ferry to communities like Gibsons, Sechelt and Powell River.

The most direct route from the mainland to the Gibsons area – at a cost estimated at $2 to $2.5 billion – would be a pair of 1.5-kilometre suspension bridges crossing from Brunswick Point on Highway 99 to Anvil Island and then across the rest of the Howe Sound.  That’s estimated to halve the travel time from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale to about 40 minutes from roughly an average of 80 minutes now by ferry.

A cheaper “Langdale Road” route at $1.5 to $2 billion would be to build 58 kilometres of new highway starting north of Squamish and running along the west side of Howe Sound to connect with the end of the Sunshine Coast road at Port Mellon.

The travel time from Horseshoe Bay by that route would be much longer – about 90 minutes – but about 45 minutes from Squamish.

Under both those scenarios the province would eliminate the existing Horseshoe Bay to Langdale ferry, but retain ferry service to Powell River at the other end of the Sunshine Coast.

The Langdale Road would effectively force all traffic to and from the Sunshine Coast to go through Squamish, adding to traffic congestion on busy sections of the Sea-to-Sky Highway.

Also under consideration is a new highway following logging roads where possible on a route from Squamish running northwest, then around the north end of Jervis Inlet and then southwest to Powell River.

The new 200-kilometre highway – costing an estimated $2.5 to $3 billion – would cut the travel time from Horseshoe Bay to Powell River to three hours of driving, down from 4.5 hours now with two ferries. Both current ferry routes would be retained.

Another option for a pair of long suspension bridges connecting Powell River to the rest of the Sunshine Coast via Nelson Island would eliminate just the Saltery Bay-Earls Cove ferry service. It would cost an estimated $1.5 to $2 billion and wouldn’t end the need to take the Langdale ferry.

Other road or bridge alternatives, including a floating bridge or floating tunnel, were examined but did not make the short list.

Feedback is being collected online until Nov. 8 at gov.bc.ca/sunshinecoastfixedlink.

Some Sunshine Coast residents welcome the improved access a fixed link would bring, while others fear a deluge of increased traffic from the Lower Mainland, even though it’s expected any new route would be tolled.

A technical report by an engineering firm is due later this year with more detailed findings on the options.

Four short listed routes.

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read