The federal government has announced a major funding commitment to help build a new overpass in South Delta.
Part of Port Metro Vancouver's Deltaport Terminal Road and Rail Improvement Project, a new $45 million overpass will be constructed on the Deltaport causeway, a project for which the federal government will contribute $19.9 million.
"Our government's top priority is creating jobs, economic growth and securing long-term prosperity for Canadian families," said Delta-Richmond East MP Kerry-Lynne Findlay at an announcement Thursday at the Tsawwassen First Nation's administration offices.
"This new project will not only make it easier for Canadian exports to travel through the Asia-Pacific Gateway to high-growth markets throughout Asia, but will address some of the transportation pressures port growth has placed on local transportation," she said.
The government is providing the funding through its Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative.
The new overpass is to improve the efficiency, safety and fluidity of traffic to and from the container terminal by eliminating conflicts between rail and truck traffic. The project involves the construction of a two-lane overpass to provide grade separation between rail tracks and the Deltaport causeway access road.
"The Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Improvement Project will increase capacity and efficiency within our existing footprint," said Robin Silvester, Port Metro Vancouver president and CEO, in a news release.
"This project increases industrial density, adding container capacity at Roberts Bank, while easing the impacts of a growing port on nearby communities."
The port authority is currently in consultations over its Terminal 2 (T2) proposal, a major expansion that would see a second three-berth container terminal open next to the current Deltaport container port.
In an interview last fall, Silvester explained the first stage for accommodating an increased movement of goods won't be T2, but the Deltaport Terminal Road and Rail Improvement Project, a series of infrastructure projects in South Delta aimed at maximizing the capacity and flow through of the existing facility.
"That's really the only opportunity we have to deliver capacity effectively before we have to look at Terminal 2. So that's going to be online by 2015. We then will look at Terminal 2 to come online at 2020, but we're in the early stages of that process and will look at options to bring in that capacity in a phased way," he said.
T2 would require another set of road and rail upgrades, further altering the landscape, but the Deltaport Road and Rail Improvement Project will go a long way in helping accommodate that expansion.
At Thursday's announcement, it was noted that, to date, the federal government has invested $1.4 billion in almost 50 infrastructure projects, valued at over $3.3 billion, in partnership with all four western provinces, municipalities and the private sector.
For project updates, visit Port Metro Vancouver's website: www.portmetrovancouver.com/en/projects/ OngoingProjects/DTRRIP. aspx.