A study by CH2M has concluded that the costs would outweigh the benefits of building a bridge to Gabriola Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The feasibility study into the Gabriola Island Fixed Link says that, while a bridge appears to be technically feasible, it would not be a cost-effective alternative to the current ferry link to Vancouver Island.
As a result, the government of British Columbia has announced that will not consider a fixed link to Gabriola Island at this time.
“There is simply not enough compelling evidence to proceed with further work on a fixed link to Gabriola Island,” said transportation and infrastructure minister Todd Stone. “Our goal is ensure coastal communities are connected in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner. This study shows that continuation of a coastal ferry service for Gabriola Island residents is the best way to achieve that goal.”
CH2M Hill Canada was appointed in late 2014 to carry out the US$141,000 study, which examined alignments, road connections, construction cost, operation and maintenance costs, travel time, reliability and flexibility for potential users. It also includes an assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of such a connection. Options were evaluated against the existing ferry service. The study’s remit did not include assessing the level of public support for a bridge.
The study confirms that a number of combinations of possible road and bridge options exist, ranging in cost from US$182 million to US$367 million. The average estimated project cost is US$253 million, on which the business case was based. However, the costs outweigh the measured benefits.
The study was commissioned in response to a petition signed by a significant number of Gabriola Island’s 4,000 full-time residents.