The provincial government has launched a feasibility study of constructing a bridge between Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island to effectively replace the existing BC Ferries route.
The implementation of the study is a response to a petition signed by Gabriola Island residents and comes after recent cuts in ferry route service due to rising costs.
The Ministry of Transportation has previously announced that fixed links are among the options to replace financially draining minor routes wherever they are feasible.
“Gabriola Island residents have petitioned the provincial government to do this study so that any future discussion about a fixed link can be based on current, factual information,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.
“On that basis, and in consideration of our vision that coastal communities are connected in a sustainable manner, we’ll assess the feasibility of a fixed link between the two islands.”
An independent consultant will explore potential locations and construction costs for the bridge, in addition to comparing the cost between a fixed link and the existing ferry service.
Access to Gabriola Island is currently through BC Ferries’ Route 19 which runs from downtown Nanaimo. A single crossing takes 20 minutes with ferries running nearly every hour from early morning to late night daily. In the last fiscal year, the route carried 341,000 vehicles – an average of 934 vehicles per day.
Approximately 4,000 people reside on the 57.6 square kilometre island.
Feature Image: BC Ferries via Shutterstock