B.C. government selects firm to study North Shore-to-Vancouver rapid transit line

Click to play video: 'Feasibility check ordered for new North Shore transit link' Feasibility check ordered for new North Shore transit link
A company has been hired to conduct a feasibility study of building a fixed-link transit connection. Ted Chernecki reports – Oct 3, 2019

The B.C. government is moving forward with plans to explore a fixed-link rapid transit between downtown Vancouver and the North Shore.

The NDP government announced Thursday that it has hired international engineering firm Mott MacDonald Ltd. to study the feasibility of a high-capacity transit crossing from the Burrard Inlet to the North Shore.

READ MORE: B.C. government looking at North Shore to Vancouver rapid transit line

The company has been tasked with looking at the possible options, be it a tunnel, a new bridge, or even a gondola service.

“Everything’s on the table,” said North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma, who chairs the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project.

“This study is going to be the first comprehensive study into a rapid transit solution for the North Shore ever,” she added.

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Click to play video: 'Province studies new rapid transit line to north shore' Province studies new rapid transit line to north shore
Province studies new rapid transit line to north shore – May 14, 2019

In 2018, the group recommended connecting central Lonsdale to the Vancouver core and the regional SkyTrain network as a key step to improving mobility in the region.

The North Shore bridges have routinely been the site of gridlocked traffic, despite efforts to improve emergency access and keep towing vehicles at the ready during peak hours.

Click to play video: 'North Shore commuter gondola?' North Shore commuter gondola?
North Shore commuter gondola? – Mar 14, 2017

“Many people spend a lot of time stuck in traffic when travelling to and from the North Shore,” TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said in a statement.

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“This feasibility study will look at ways we can improve congestion, understand the gridlock and prepare for future growth.”

The study will consist of two phases, with the first exploring options to connect the North Shore to the region’s larger transit network. Once a short list of options is complete, the second phase will consist of a detailed engineering and planning review.

READ MORE: North Shore to SkyTrain express bus service could hit the road next year

The study is expected to be completed next year.

Mayors on both sides of the inlet are urging the firm and the province to act as quickly as possible.

“A fixed link for rapid transit will take years to implement, so we need to start thinking about it now,” City of West Vancouver Mayor Mary-Ann Booth said in a statement.

—With files from Ted Chernecki

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