The provincial government of British Columbia is throwing its support as well as millions of dollars behind a plan to add 150 truck parking spaces to a new facility by 2018.
In a news release issued March 27, the government of B.C. announced it is committing $17 million towards a $30 million facility that will add spaces on Highway 17 at the Port Mann Bridge in Surrey. The remaining funds are being sought through a partnership with the federal government.
The announcement was made by Surrey-Fleetwood Member of the Legislative Assembly Peter Fassbender and Surrey-Tynehead MLA Amrik Virk, on behalf of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.
“We are always looking at ways that we can help the commercial trucking industry carry out their business in a more cost-effective manner,” Fassbender said in the release. “By constructing truck parking facilities such as this, and by streamlining permitting and adopting new technologies, we’re helping keep B.C.’s trucking industry operating safely and efficiently.”
The new truck parking facility will be constructed on provincial land on the north side of Highway 17, below and just east of the Port Mann Bridge. Site preparation is expected to begin this summer, with completion anticipated by winter 2018. When opened, the facility will have room for up to 150 trucks. It will include washrooms and showers, fencing, lighting and other security measures.
The Port Mann Bridge facility will be the second new truck parking facility announced for the Lower Mainland, as part of B.C. on the Move, the province’s 10-year transportation plan. A truck parking facility with capacity for up to 40 vehicles opened in fall 2016 on Highway 91 at Nordel Way in Delta.
Monday’s announcement also included a number of other measures, which the provincial government says will reduce red tape and improve industry efficiency. The measures are part of a 2014 Joint Action Plan between the Port of Vancouver, the province and the federal government, and are aimed at ensuring the stability of container trucking operations at Lower Mainland ports.
Those initiatives include:
- Replacing permit requirements for low-risk oversize and overweight commercial trucks with regulation, which could save the industry approximately $8 million a year in permitting fees. The ministry will consult with stakeholders prior to implementation this fall.
- Increasing the maximum weight permitted on 10-axle container trucks, and examine new tire and axle technologies.
- Investing new money into the Office of the British Columbia Container Trucking Commission to increase their audit capacity and ensure that audits are completed more quickly. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure notes that audits to date have returned more than $1.7 million to drivers. In addition, the commissioner is examining options to reform the Truck Tag system.
The release notes that the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has also taken steps to improve the container trucking sector, including flexible geo-fencing on the south shore of the port. Similar to geo-fencing already in place at Deltaport, the program is meant to help address congestion and provide fair wait time fees for drivers. The port has also collected more than $600,000 in wait time fees from terminals and given to trucking companies for excessive wait times. VFPA has also developed an expedited process to ensure timely future wait time payments.
Louise Yako, president of the B.C. Trucking Association, praised the provincial government for taking “a leadership role in creating a new truck parking facility” and for the other announcements.
“These initiatives not only eliminate red tape and improve safety, but will help the industry to be more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Yako said via the new release. “Ultimately, consumers will benefit because a more efficient trucking industry means cost-effective goods movement.”