A presentation on the North-South Interconnector will be made on June 6th to the Provincial Select Budget Standing Committee when they are in Quesnel.
Rick Witner, a Director with the Chamber of Commerce, will making the pitch and provided City Council with a sneak preview last (Tuesday) night.
“The current highway runs directly past our seniors homes and hospitals creating health risks, existing bridges require major maintenance, existing bridges do not meet MOTI standards, functional design has been completed, please put it into your budget to complete the detailed design.”
Witner also talked about statistics from 2008 to 2015 on hazardous goods.
“86 trucks carrying dangerous goods passed through the Quesnel weight scale during an 8 3/4 hour shift. That equates to about 9.8 dangerous goods truck per hour. So in a 24 hour period there may be as many as 235 dangerous goods trucks passing through our downtown core.”
He also noted that the proposed route had overwhelming support from industry, First Nations, local government and the public.
Councillor Martin Runge noted that it wasn’t just a Quesnel issue but a provincial issue.
“For me the biggest point here is the two bridges. If we lose those arteries, it’s not just Quesnel, it’s the whole north that’s suffering. I think to get it into the budget we should touch base with the x number of hundred thousand people north of us that are also, if those bridges go down I don’t know what would happen with regards to the transportation corridor from the Lower Mainland to the north.”
A motion brought forward by Councillor Laurey-Anne Roodenburg suggesting that they send letters to northern communities seeking support for the interconnector was passed unanimously.
“I think our first step is to get the communities on both sides of us, Williams Lake and 100 Mile, get them on side and others in the NCLGA (North Central Local Government Association) area, and then speak directly to the Minister at some point in time during UBCM (Union of BC Municipalities).
The project, estimated at 275 million dollars in 2018, would remove heavy truck traffic from the downtown core by allowing them to bypass it.
The Quesnel River Bridge and CN Rail Bridge, both nearing the end of their suggested life and no longer up to Ministry of Transportation standards, would be replaced and there would be a new 3.7 kilometre section of Highway 97 from North Star Road to River Park Road.