EDITORIAL: Congestion relief?
The slow, daily grind that has become a way of life for commuters crawling through South Delta has got to stop.
And the coming South Fraser Perimter Road (SFPR) may not be the hoped for magic bullet.
One of the main concerns has been outlined by the Delta Chamber of Commerce whose members have studied the route and say the plan to put intersections instead of interchanges on the SFPR could result in millions in lost productivity.
Tilbury business owners already say the current chronic traffic congestion is hurting their drive to remain compeititive.
So, what's the solution?
Traffic heading to Richmond and points beyond using the George Massey Tunnel must be addressed–something the SFPR does not do directly.
While hopes are that a good chunk of traffic now making its way across the Hwy. 99 overpass will opt for the new, billion dollar highway, some are not convinced it will be clear sailing once they get on the 40 km ribbon of asphalt that will conenct Deltaport with Fraser Heights when completed in December 2013.
A big part of that apprehension comes with the decision to plunk down intersections.
Chamber officials have wondered if a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the SFPR will shortly be followed by a sight familiar to most South Deltans—near gridlock on the roads.
You can get a sense of that in real world terms right now by heading over to the Hwy. 91/72 St. intersection during the morning and evening rush hours.
While it's too late to find an alternate route for the SFPR, the powers that be must see the folly in not making the SFPR intersection stop light-free.
With the land already in place to accommodate free-flowing interchanges, the cost to do so should not be too pricey.
And while they are about it, crossings over the the Fraser River linking the SFPR with Richmond and Vancouver would be in order.
But knowing what the current economic climate is for funding road improvements and expansions in this province, it would not be beyond the realm of possibility that a toll be considered to keep the traffic moving on the SFPR.
Considering the amount of fuel and money wasted by cars now idling on clogged local roads, it may just be a compromise whose time has come.