Opinion

UNCOMMON SENSE: SFPR finally connects Delta to the Lower Mainland

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In the nearly 10 years since the province announced the creation of a new highway south of the Fraser River there have been a seemingly endless array of complaints.

There were concerns the South Fraser Perimeter Road intrudes too closely upon the sensitive wetlands of Burns Bog, carves through precious farmland, and cuts into habitat for wildlife.

The cynics said the highway was built only to serve the trucks headed for Deltaport, that the province was recognizing the gridlock was hurting the bottom line of suppliers.

Others lamented the fact South Delta’s quaint rural roads were going to be replaced by a super highway that would ruin the quiet and slower-paced life people enjoy here.

But look, that ship sailed in 1959 when the George Massey Tunnel finally connected Delta to Vancouver by way of Richmond.

And sure, some farmland and wildlife habitat was sacrificed through the creation of the new highway, but harm was mitigated through rigorous environmental oversight.

The end result is a beautiful, meandering highway that takes drivers from Tsawwassen through the picturesque countryside of Delta to the TransCanada Highway in under a half hour.

Until the SFPR was built, that trip was an ambitious one. Anybody who has plugged an address from Maple Ridge into a GPS and tried to get there from Tsawwassen knows the pain of which I speak.

Drivers had to make their way toward the tunnel, then make a sharp right along Highway 99, going well out of their way before taking a sharp left again up Highway 91, perhaps getting off at Nordel Way and wandering around the back roads of Surrey until they found themselves on the other side.

Or how about people wanting to go skiing in Whistler for the weekend? Getting to the Second Narrows would usually involve the Massey Tunnel, Knight Street Bridge, and Nanaimo Street, with dozens of traffic lights in between.

Suddenly, things are a lot simpler. You get on a highway in Tsawwassen and you wind up on the TransCanada. From there you can pretty much choose to go anywhere you want.

Part of the reason traffic has gotten so bad in South Delta is that there was no designated route for either trucks or ferry traffic. That problem is now significantly alleviated.

And with the creation of the new Deas Island bridge in a few years, traffic will become even easier and smoother and less stressful for all of us.

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