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Old February 5th, 2011, 11:10 PM   #1961
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Ok, but Alberta is flat. It costs the Alberta Government comparatively nothing to build four lane highways everywhere. Compared to eastern standards, population density is nothing, so land should be pretty cheap. Not to mention the fact that Alberta is swimming with oil, one of the most valuable commodities on the face of the earth.

As a roadgeek I may not like it, but I can see justification for leaving Merrit on the highway system. Merrit is way to far away from Kelowna to be a suburb. Yeah, a freeway to freeway interchange would be better from a traffic perspective, but probably not from the Town of Merrit's perspective. The trouble with Transportation Authorities is that they have to balance providing good transportation service with the other needs of the population of the province.

I will give you this, Highway 1 through Kicking Horse Pass was embarrassing as the route of our national highway -- and it took way to long to upgrade.
A lot of people here tend to forget this point when comparing us to the Prairies or southern Ontario.

As for Fargo Wolf, I like the route you chose from Kamloops to the Alberta border for a new #1, but I honestly see no point in redoing sections of the #5. It is already a fully divided 4 lane (5 to 6 in some areas) freeway with grade separated junctions, it serves its purpose pretty well and makes the trip from the Fraser Valley to Kamloops surprisingly fast. Any major replacements of this highway would be a huge waste of money.

I would love to see the last 20% of the connector built, but i doubt that will ever happen, so as a realistic compromise I would love to see the 97C have a grade separated interchange with the Princeton-Kamloops Highway and a full free flow interchange built where the 97C meets the #5. At least that way you could drive from Vancouver to Westbank (suburb of Kelowna) without stopping.

At least the 97 is 4 lanes the entire stretch from the #5 to Peachland.

Anyways, here is an update by me regarding the Port Mann Bridge:

Here are a couple pics I took, they are nothing great, the light was fading too fast on my way home from work.

image hosted on flickr



And here is one of the gantry crane now fully assembled on the north approach.

image hosted on flickr



This is a really hard project to photograph because there are very few decent vantage points, especially concerning the cape horn interchange. Many of the ramps are taking shape and are in interesting stages of construction but there is no where to park (safely) and take some pics.
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Old February 6th, 2011, 12:20 AM   #1962
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Quote:
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A lot of people here tend to forget this point when comparing us to the Prairies or southern Ontario.

As for Fargo Wolf, I like the route you chose from Kamloops to the Alberta border for a new #1, but I honestly see no point in redoing sections of the #5. It is already a fully divided 4 lane (5 to 6 in some areas) freeway with grade separated junctions, it serves its purpose pretty well and makes the trip from the Fraser Valley to Kamloops surprisingly fast. Any major replacements of this highway would be a huge waste of money.
The reason for the rerouting is to greatly reduce the gradients, in addition to straightening the route. The purpose of the Coke, was to get truckers off Hwy1 and 5 (now 5A) That plan backfired, because of the long grades, ESPECIALLY Snowshed Hill (notorious for the excessive grade (about 10%, but signed as 8%) and, as a result where the majority of crashes happen, due to improper camber. This is why truckers stick to Hwy 1 and 5A.

The other reason to carry out such a project, is weather. Most, if not all tunnels in Switzerland were constructed for much the same reasons. Time reduction, providing a shorter, faster rout and reducing the delays (as well as closures) caused by weather. The same problems are encountered here.

Merritt would actually benefit, as the city would become a bedroom community to Kamloops, West Kelowna (Westbank), Kelowna, Hope and Chilliwack.

As for 97C, The route currently wanders too far south. This was because of the Brenda Mine, which was still operating at the time. As it has been shut down permanently, the current alignment is no longer practical. A more direct route, further north makes more sense and, as with the Coke, greatly reduces grades.
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Old February 6th, 2011, 01:51 AM   #1963
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The reason for the rerouting is to greatly reduce the gradients, in addition to straightening the route. The purpose of the Coke, was to get truckers off Hwy1 and 5 (now 5A) That plan backfired, because of the long grades, ESPECIALLY Snowshed Hill (notorious for the excessive grade (about 10%, but signed as 8%) and, as a result where the majority of crashes happen, due to improper camber. This is why truckers stick to Hwy 1 and 5A.

The other reason to carry out such a project, is weather. Most, if not all tunnels in Switzerland were constructed for much the same reasons. Time reduction, providing a shorter, faster rout and reducing the delays (as well as closures) caused by weather. The same problems are encountered here.

Merritt would actually benefit, as the city would become a bedroom community to Kamloops, West Kelowna (Westbank), Kelowna, Hope and Chilliwack.

As for 97C, The route currently wanders too far south. This was because of the Brenda Mine, which was still operating at the time. As it has been shut down permanently, the current alignment is no longer practical. A more direct route, further north makes more sense and, as with the Coke, greatly reduces grades.
I am going to call some BS on this, I have driven the 5A many times (one of the most scenic routes one can drive, just wonderful) and the truck traffic on that route is negligible compared to the #5.

The #1 does have a decent amount of truck traffic, but still less than that of the #5 (the #1 also takes far longer to get from hope to Kamloops than the #5) and a decent chunk of the #1 truck traffic is going north when they reach Cache Creek.

And again comparing our highways to Switzerland is completely unfair.

Switzerland has a population of 7.8 million and a land area of 41 285 km square

Compare that to BC, a population of 4.5 million (58% that of Switzerland) and a land area of 944 735 km square (2 288% the land mass of Switzerland)

Even if we are only considering the southern third of BC the stats are still far more favorable towards Switzerland's.

Also, don't forget Switzerland is smack in the middle of Western Europe, so they also have great volumes of trans-national traffic to deal with.

Tunnels are amazingly expensive and there is no way your proposed routes could be funded without extremely high tolls (likely in the hundreds of dollars) to be implemented afterwards.

Most people who drive the #5 enjoy it and are impressed by it.

Even in the United States with their extensive freeway networks tunnels are very rare in their mountain passes in comparison to Europe and Japan. Again, even in the US the pop vs. density in the western half of the country is not favorable towards big tunnel projects.

I spent three summers working in Nevada driving the 1-80 and their mountain passes are comparable to the #5 in BC, there was only 1 short tunnel (about 500 meters long) just out side of Elko.

Where the US is lucky is their mountainous landscape has naturally given them far better mountain passes then we have (larger valleys, lower passes, etc...)

I should also note that while living in Japan, while their freeways are amazingly impressive regarding tunnels / bridges / etc... many on this forum (dibblezee comes to my mind) would probably find them unsatisfactory because their lanes are much narrower than ours, the shoulders are small and even non existent in many areas, in many urban areas the on ramps are actually yields, not merges, and nearly all of the freeways have speed limits of 80 km hour (even 60 in some urban areas with tight curves). So maybe that is another reason why other areas can also build such features as tunnels and bridges, because their design speeds are lower with more narrow lanes.

I should also note if in Japan a freeway trip as long as Vancouver to Kamloops would likely cost you around $100 in freeway tolls on the average day. So again, even in the mega dense island nation of Japan one has to pay very high toll rates when using their freeway network.
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Old February 6th, 2011, 07:46 PM   #1964
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The MTO used Styrofoam to fill the highway to reduce the weight that the fill was going to place on the underlying fill. A lot of Northern Ontario has wet boggy soil described as muskeg that deforms under weight. The Styrofoam obviously weighs much less than crushed rock.

This is far from the first time that Styrofoam was used in highway construction in Ontario. Since (at least) the 1960s Styrofoam has been tried as fill to try and reduce the severity of frost heaves.
More info regarding Styrofoam blocks from the MTO's Fall issue of Roadtalk.

Link: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/tra...adtalk/rt16-4/

Not Just for Coffee Cups!
Innovative Embankment Design Using Styrofoam Blocks on Hwy 69

Highway 69 is a major north-south link between Parry Sound and Sudbury, Ontario. In the fall of 2009, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) opened a new section of four-lane Highway 69 between Estaire and Sudbury to better connect southern and northern Ontario population centres.

This particular section of highway intersects the Canadian National Railway. To carry Highway 69 over the railroad tracks, twin four-span bridges were constructed, each approximately 150 m long. At the north approaches to the bridges, expanded polystyrene (EPS) blocks were used to reduce roadway settlement and to limit the lateral pile movements on the foundation of the bridge.

During the detailed design, it was determined that the subsoils at the north approaches were comprised of deep deposits of compressible silty clay. The weight of conventional earth or rock fills as approach embankment fills would have caused both short and long term settlements of these native soils. These settlements would result in pavement distortions, leading to a "bumpy ride" in the approach to the bridge. In addition, forces known as "downdrag" caused by the relative movement of the approach embankment fill and the steel piles driven to bedrock that support the bridge abutments, would cause distress on the bridge abutment.

To achieve the performance requirements for the bridge and roadway at the approaches, the design team selected EPS blocks as the best solution for constructing under existing soil conditions. EPS blocks are less than 1% the weight of conventional earth fills; on this project, they reduced the magnitude of embankment stress on the native soils at the bridge abutment approaches from approximately 120 kPa to about 10 kPa. In addition to its lightweight attributes, EPS has strength and durability that makes the material suitable for embankment fills. EPS is also an inert material and consequently, environmentally friendly.

Following a subexcavation of 1.8 m below the original ground level, the EPS blocks were placed on a 300 mm thick granular 'A' levelling pad used as a base course. The EPS blocks, shaped in rectangular prisms ranging from 610 mm x 2440 mm x 700 mm to 1220 mm x 2440 mm x 1000 mm, were lifted by a backhoe and then placed by hand in horizontal layers for the width of the embankment. The blocks were then covered with polyethylene sheeting and a concrete slab before backfilling the slopes with earth fill, the pavement subbase and base above the concrete slab.

It took approximately 8 weeks between May and July of 2009 to complete the EPS installation. During this period, approximately 10,000 m3 or over 5600 blocks of EPS were installed with a production rate of approximately 140 blocks per day.

The application of expanded polystyrene on the Highway 69/CN demonstrates another use of innovation to solve problems associated with embankment settlement adjacent to a bridge structure. On this project, the EPS design illustrated a successful partnership between the Prime Consultant (Totten Sims Hubicki), the Foundations Engineering subonsultant (Thurber), the Pavements and Foundations Section of the MTO Materials Engineering and Research Office and MTO Northeastern Region, including its Planning and Design, Structural Section and Construction offices.



For more information regarding this application of EPS, contact Tony Sangiuliano, Materials Engineering and Research Office, at (416) 235-5267 or [email protected].

For more information on Highway 69 four-laning, visit: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/highway69/
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Old February 6th, 2011, 08:30 PM   #1965
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Reconstruction of the Queen Elizabeth Way / Hurontario Street interchange in Mississauga.



The project is intended to widen the QEW and improve pedestrian movements under the junction.

Hurontario street is planned to have a LRT corridor run beside / in it. Not sure if this or the new overpass with Highway 401 were designed with it in mind.


Interesting fact: Hurontario Street intersects 5 400-series highways: the QEW, Highway 403, 401, 407 and 410. I'm not sure of the route for the proposed Halton-Peel freeway but it might intersect this one too.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 01:07 AM   #1966
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Even in the United States with their extensive freeway networks tunnels are very rare in their mountain passes in comparison to Europe and Japan. Again, even in the US the pop vs. density in the western half of the country is not favorable towards big tunnel projects.

I spent three summers working in Nevada driving the 1-80 and their mountain passes are comparable to the #5 in BC, there was only 1 short tunnel (about 500 meters long) just out side of Elko.

Where the US is lucky is their mountainous landscape has naturally given them far better mountain passes then we have (larger valleys, lower passes, etc...)
I am so happy that somebody pointed this out! I went to Los Angeles and Las Vegas for two weeks about a year ago, and drove around southern California and Nevada a lot. California has some really interesting mountain roads, but generally the interstates don't have to cross mountain ranges that are as substantial as the ranges in BC. I don't think any stretch of I-10, I-40 or I-15 even compares to the Okanagan Connector let alone the Coke.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 08:29 AM   #1967
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The populace Fraser Valley has fewer hills than most of southern Ontario or Quebec. The stretch from Abbotsford to Chilliwack is as flat a pancake. The median is very wide so there is lots of room to make it even 8 lanes but no.
Outside of the mountain passes of the interior BC is no more problemativ than On//Qu/NB/NS.
Vancouver to Hope and Victoria to Campbell River is no hillier than any where else.
It's called a lack of planning.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 09:10 PM   #1968
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The populace Fraser Valley has fewer hills than most of southern Ontario or Quebec. The stretch from Abbotsford to Chilliwack is as flat a pancake. The median is very wide so there is lots of room to make it even 8 lanes but no.
Outside of the mountain passes of the interior BC is no more problemativ than On//Qu/NB/NS.
Vancouver to Hope and Victoria to Campbell River is no hillier than any where else.
It's called a lack of planning.
I'd say it is more to do with lack of funds, but whatever. At least the traffic from Abbotsford to Hope can still move as fast as the speed limit.
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Old February 8th, 2011, 10:40 PM   #1969
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The populace Fraser Valley has fewer hills than most of southern Ontario or Quebec. The stretch from Abbotsford to Chilliwack is as flat a pancake. The median is very wide so there is lots of room to make it even 8 lanes but no.
Outside of the mountain passes of the interior BC is no more problemativ than On//Qu/NB/NS.
Vancouver to Hope and Victoria to Campbell River is no hillier than any where else.
It's called a lack of planning.
And that is exactly why Vancouver to Hope is a grade separated divided freeway! I hate to burst your bubble but most rural freeways out side of major cities (such as the #1 between Surrey and Hope) are only 4 lanes. Again, I have driven through Japan, the United States, Canada and Europe and only in very populated areas that connect two very close multi million persons cities will you find rural freeways with more than 4 lanes, for example even the tolled freeways that connect Tokyo to Osaka are only 4 lanes wide (and only built to 80km H standards)for most of their length. The 1-80 which I have driven very often is only 4 lanes wide through Nevada despite being arguably the primary connection between Northern California and the North East of the US.

And as for Victoria to Campbell River, have you ever driven that? The entire section from Victoria to Nanaimo is very mountainous! (The Malahat connector anyone?) and the flat portion (Nanaimo to Campbell River) is indeed a 4 lane divided highway with a mix of interchanges and traffic lights (but still a 110 km H design speed).

And many of the populated regions of the BC interior that are not mountain passes are still very difficult terrain to build on (usually involving Canyons, or narrow rocky hill shoulders along lakes, etc...)

And when you compare it to Ontario, do you not think there is a reason why much of the highways crossing the Canadian Shield north of the great lakes (connecting eastern Canada to western Canada) are only 2 lane highways as well?
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Old February 8th, 2011, 10:52 PM   #1970
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for example even the tolled freeways that connect Tokyo to Osaka are only 4 lanes wide (and only built to 80km H standards)for most of their length.
That's why they have 2 expressways between those cities and are building a third one currently. Lack of rural capacity. In Germany and France some motorways are 2x3 lanes for hundreds of kilometers.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 02:23 AM   #1971
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And when you compare it to Ontario, do you not think there is a reason why much of the highways crossing the Canadian Shield north of the great lakes (connecting eastern Canada to western Canada) are only 2 lane highways as well?
Exactly. Couple that with the fact that almost nobody lives in Northern Ontario, and its not difficult to understand why these roads are only two lanes.

The four lane Trans-Canada argument comes up all the time, and I can definitely understand both sides, but I always wonder, who will pay for this road?
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Old February 9th, 2011, 02:35 AM   #1972
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The four lane Trans-Canada argument comes up all the time, and I can definitely understand both sides, but I always wonder, who will pay for this road?
If the American taxpayers could afford the entire Interstate Highway system, then Canada can surely afford one cross-country freeway.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 03:23 AM   #1973
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There are 270,000,000 more people in America then there are in Canada.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 03:49 AM   #1974
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Screw driving across Canada. Buy a plane ticket!
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Old February 9th, 2011, 04:04 AM   #1975
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Screw driving across Canada. Buy a plane ticket!
No. Just no. I'd rather drive.

Flying,You have to put up with bratty, screaming, snotty, uncontrolled kids. You have to deal with security, parking, flight delays/cancellations. You have to put up with the dry, stuffy re-circulated air. You have to share a few toilets with several hundred passengers.

Driving, you can stop whenever you feel like. I can put my motorcycle, or bicycle in the back of my truck. I can pick whatever route I feel like, from freeway to quiet country roads. You can listen to whatever you want. You see so much more driving.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 04:37 AM   #1976
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No. Just no. I'd rather drive.

Flying,You have to put up with bratty, screaming, snotty, uncontrolled kids. You have to deal with security, parking, flight delays/cancellations. You have to put up with the dry, stuffy re-circulated air. You have to share a few toilets with several hundred passengers.

Driving, you can stop whenever you feel like. I can put my motorcycle, or bicycle in the back of my truck. I can pick whatever route I feel like, from freeway to quiet country roads. You can listen to whatever you want. You see so much more driving.
That's fine, but when you haven't even reached the second Province, I'm at my destination, in a local restaurant sipping on my beer. If you avoid flying around Christmas time, you're usually fine. Besides, there's no way I'd even attempt a drive across Canada during winter.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 07:07 AM   #1977
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The 401 is now 6 lanes from Windsor to Toronto {by end of the year} and will be 6 laned to Belleville with 5.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 08:16 AM   #1978
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That's why they have 2 expressways between those cities and are building a third one currently. Lack of rural capacity. In Germany and France some motorways are 2x3 lanes for hundreds of kilometers.
Ok, when BC has the world's largest city (Tokyo) and another 20 million plus urban area (Osaka, Kobe) within 400 km of each other, then we will also have 3 4 lane expressways between them Oh, did I also mention that these expressways are only designed to 80 km h speeds and are very heavily tolled? Again, if you were to travel the distance from Vancouver to Kelowna in Japan it would likely cost you around $100 in tolls on a normal weekday.

Again, same goes to comparing us to Germany and France, apples to oranges with population and distance. The same goes even when comparing us to the Golden Horseshoe.

The #1 between Abbotsford and hope is just fine as a divided, 4 lane freeway. In fact I believe they already have improved many of the interchanges in Abbotsford and added a climbing lane westbound (forget the name of the hill).

Let's just say, these freeway arguments are the exact same reason why we don't have HSR (bullet train) from Vancouver to Calgary. Small population, vast distances, difficult terrain, etc...
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Old February 9th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #1979
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Puh-lease. BC has a difficult terrain, but it ain't so much different from Sierra Nevada (which has much higher mountain passes and rugged terrain) or even the American Rockies (higher mountain passes).

BC's mountain are much shorter than their American counterpart.
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Old February 9th, 2011, 07:31 PM   #1980
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Puh-lease. BC has a difficult terrain, but it ain't so much different from Sierra Nevada (which has much higher mountain passes and rugged terrain) or even the American Rockies (higher mountain passes).

BC's mountain are much shorter than their American counterpart.
Terrain is only part of the point. You're forgetting a key piece of information. The population of California is nearing 40 million, while BC's population is 4.5 million. Now who's going to get wider roads I wonder? The amount of traffic is the main determining factor is this matter. And from what I've seen, there's no sense in plopping down billions more so people have a comfy half kilometer between them and the next car.
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