February 3, 2016 3:38 pm
Updated: February 5, 2016 2:52 pm

Options for Sunshine Coast highway link to be determined by late fall 2016

Credit: Kelly Findlay

Kelly Findlay

A highway link connecting the Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced today that Vancouver-based civil engineering firm R.F. Binnie & Associates has been awarded a $250,000 feasibility study contract.

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“With this study, we’re taking a thorough look at the possibilities for a highway link to the Lower Mainland,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said in a press release. He added the study will provide the government with valuable, updated information on various options.

The province says a number of potential connections will be explored, with concept options ranging from a highway link around Jervis Inlet, to direct bridge connections along the coast. The costs and benefits of each option will be assessed and will be compared with existing ferry services.

“Gathering the data, assessing the practicality of options and the orders of magnitude of costs will all contribute to an informed discussion of the long-term plan for connecting the upper and lower Sunshine Coast to the Lower Mainland,” said Jordan Sturdy, MLA for West Vancouver-Sea to Sky.

Stone said in September they heard from the public in Powell River and along the Sunshine Coast that highway access is important for attracting tourism and investment. He echoed this in today’s announcement.

“Connections between the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland have been limited by the region’s challenging geography, which is an impediment to trade and tourism in the region.”

“This issue has been a hot topic as long as I can remember and I look forward to meeting with the communities to hear their perspectives,” he added.

R.F. Binnie & Associates is expected to submit the study’s final report to the government in late fall, 2016.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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