Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

SNC-Lavalin wins contract

with 3 comments

SNC-Lavalin has been awarded a $649,000 contract to design a buses-only lane on Highway 99 in Richmond.

The engineering contract is for the design of a lane from Westminster Highway to Bridgeport Road. Design is to be completed by this fall and the bus lane is expected to open in fall 2009.

The bus lane is intended to free northbound bus-riding commuters from traffic jams in other lanes as they make their way to Bridgeport Station on the rapid transit Canada Line, which is to open in the fall of 2009.

Just a small piece in the Sun – and that is all of it. Basically it is about restriping Highway #99 and probably moving some of the centre barrier. The right of way has room. This is actually a queue jumper needed because the Oak Street Bridge has only two lanes and the insertion of traffic from the Shell and Bridgeport Road on ramps tends to bottle up the freeway. There are, of course, no ramp meters, and the third lane north from the tunnel ends at Westminster Highway.

I am in favour of bus lane queue jumpers. This has been needed for a long time – and would have helped north bound buses trying to get on to Oak Street Bridge. But those buses are being cut back. A few minutes saved here and improved reliability will offset a little the additional penalty of the mode transfer at Bridgeport Station. But not be enough, I think, to retain every bus rider who owns a car and will now think once again of the comfort of a one seat ride into Vancouver instead of having to get off the bus, get up to the station and then try to squeeze in to a crowded train to stand the rest of the way into town.

But the important point is that this contract is being awarded by the Ministry of Transportation. Who refuse to even consider a similar solution to the problem of congestion on Highway #1 leading on to the Port Mann Bridge westbound. Because a queue jumper there would work equally well. And could get buses across that Bridge at a much lower cost than building a whole new bridge to duplicate the existing one. But of course, if they did that, it would call into question the entire strategy of freeway expansion. And the manifest falsehood that it is not possible to run buses across the Port Mann because of “14 hours of congestion”.

UPDATE June 9 In the print edition of the Richmond Review there is an interview with me by Matthew Hoekstra. I would have liked to link to it but the BC Local News web page does not have it.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 9, 2008 at 8:47 am

Posted in transit

Tagged with ,

3 Responses

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  1. Question is: Why now? Why SNC Lavalin?

    A North Bound HOV lane from #5 to the Oak St. Bridge was needed for years, yet nothing was done. Why now?

    Why has SNC Lavalin (a RAV/Canada line player) been chosen? Why not a local engineering firm?

    The Answers I can think of are:

    1) The North bound HOV is a sop to try to keep South Delta/Surrey transit customers on the bus with the slogan, “Save a minute, take the bus.” Many South Delta/Surrey transit customers are unhappy with the upcoming forced transfer from bus to RAV.

    2) Could it be this is a ‘sweetener’ to SNC Lavalin because of rising costs of RAV and the Campbell government doesn’t want any bad RAV stories, especially in an election year.

    This might not be a queue-jumper lane at all, but a bus only route to Casino Junction because when RAV opens, no TransLink buses will cross the Oak Street Bridge.

    Malcolm J.

    June 10, 2008 at 7:51 am

  2. In current planning, the 480 bus, which uses the Oak Street Bridge, will continue to run between Richmond and UBC after the Canada Line opens.

    Sungsu

    June 10, 2008 at 6:37 pm

  3. Noted; but isn’t this a lot of money spent on just one bus route? Being a devil’s advocate, would not a queue jumper lane for the Oak St. bridge, enhance the demands of South Delta/Surrey bus riders to continue the direct ‘Express bus’ services to Vancouver, when RAV opens.

    Malcolm J.

    June 10, 2008 at 10:06 pm


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