Air quality concerns
How will intersections instead of interchanges along the South Fraser Perimeter Road impact air quality?
It's a question Delta's Environment Advisory Committee has for the B.C. Gateway Program.
Gateway's original concept plan for the SFPR—a four-lane highway currently under construction that will connect Deltaport with major highways—included an intersection at 80th Street in Tilbury and an interchange near 96th Street in the Sunbury area.
An air quality assessment was done in September 2006 based on that design. The most recent plan now includes signalized intersections at both locations—a change that has the committee concerned about the potential increase in air pollution.
"Everybody I know of is aghast they are thinking of putting in intersections rather than interchanges," said Coun. Bruce McDonald, chair of the Environment Advisory Committee.
The committee has asked Delta Council to request a new, updated air quality assessment from Gateway based on the new plan.
"We were talking about the impact it has if you put intersections where you have people decelerating, accelerating, idling, braking, et cetera, et cetera," McDonald said. "What impact does that have on this air model we're supposedly working on?
"I would think it would have a fair impact, just because blowing through on any kind of a motor that is running smoothly is not going to produce the same kind of pollutants and volumes of outputs as decelerating and accelerating."
The Delta Chamber of Commerce has also expressed its opposition to traffic lights along the SFPR.
It has stated the effectiveness of the SFPR could be "significantly compromised" if it opens with intersections in the Tilbury industrial park and Sunbury area.
"Large commercial vehicles of 70 feet or more in length, especially when fully loaded, need dedicated acceleration and deceleration lanes to permit their safe operation in this system," the chamber has stated. "Without those features, which require an interchange configuration, the financial and environmental costs of businesses and the community most certainly will be higher than they could be."
When asked what the municipality would do if Gateway did conduct a new air quality assessment and the results were deemed unacceptable, McDonald said, "It's just one more argument, one more arrow in the quiver, I guess. We've been agitating and advocating this not occur."