It could cost as much as $100 million to reroute trucks away from Downtown Mission via a new bypass.
That’s Mayor Randy Hawes’ estimate, after the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure rejected the district’s idea of directing heavy rigs onto Murray Street, through the industrial area and Junction Mall, and back onto the Lougheed Highway west of the town core.
The ministry suggested instead it could do a study of the cost of a new bypass upon the request of the district.
Hawes isn’t optimistic. A $50-million plan to build a new bypass several years ago is no longer viable because the land isn’t available.
Also, costs could be double now, and even though the district would want to share the expense with senior governments, Hawes is doubtful the provincial ministry would lay out that much cash.
The ministry rejected the district suggestion to divert trucks at Murray Street for various reasons including the fact the overpass has a 12 per cent grade and tight turning radius. That forces the trucks to slow down considerably, creating a large back-up in traffic on the Lougheed Highway.
It is also a safety concern.
During Monday’s council meeting, some councillors said they felt widening the road before the Murray Street turn and creating a longer left turn lane could alleviate delays.
“I still think they (the ministry) are doing a cop-out on us because they could extend that left turn lane on First Avenue,” said Coun. Jim Hinds.
“They’ve always said that trucks can’t make that turn. Well, stand on that corner, any day of the week, and you’ll see everything from little delivery vans to B-trains, Super Bs, logging trucks with 40-foot logs on it, you name it, they make the turn.”
He said the ministry could adjust that corner if it wanted to.
There is no timeline for when a bypass cost study will be completed and sent to the district.