The SCSH linking Campbell River with West Vancouver travelling over upgraded roads (yellow dots), new highways (blue lines) and 5 new bridges [click map for hi-resolution image]
A new 300 km Sunshine Coast Super Highway linking Campbell River to West Vancouver would take 2 hours 30 minutes to traverse travelling at 120 k.p.h. (dry road posted speed limit) or about the same time it takes to ride the ferry between Vancouver and Victoria. Providing free charing points for electric vehicles along the way would turn it into a Super Highways. Built on upgraded local roads, new highway segments and 5 new cable suspension bridges the SCSH promises to do more than just ferry cars and trucks around the Salish Sea. It can be designed to trigger economic development, end the affordable housing crisis in British Columbia, carry fibre optics to remote locations, create an electric rail corridor, modernize transportation and build sustainable urbanism.
Update: 27 July 2017 Barrier Reef Super Highway announced in Australia
1. FIVE NEW BRIDGES
- Jarvis Inlet Bridge 2.3 km
- Desolation Sound Bridge 2.4 km
- Cortes Island Bridges 1.0 and 1.8 km
- Surge Narrows Bridge 0.3 km
- Quadra Island Bridge 0.75 km
Completing the SCSH would require building five new bridges. The two longest bridges would be at the mouth of the Jarvis Inlet (2.3 km length) and on Desolation Sound linking the mainland to Cortes Island (2.4 km).
2. SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION
The Sunshine Coast Super Highway (SCSH) would be fitted to support free charging for electric cars (EVs) at 50 km intervals. We foresee that travel costs and the carbon footprint of the SCSH will be greatly reduced when EVs recharge free of cost at 200-mile ranges in 30 minutes. In the meantime, located on the edge of the wilderness, the bio mass of the coastal forest will keep GHG release from combustion engines in check.
The Sunshine Coast Super Highway right of way should be designed to support the addition of electric rail service at a later date. Joined to the E&N railway on Vancouver Island, and the Whistler Rocky Mountaineer on Howe Sound, modern electric rail can provide additional GHG-free capacity circumnavigating the edges of the Salish Sea. One line of rail carries the equivalent of 11 to 16 highway lanes.
3. SUSTAINABLE URBANISM
New townsites along the SCSH would have a footprint designed to support walking, with neighborhoods not more than 400m or 1/4 mile in diameter. Buildings would be limited to 2.5 stories in height, with all above grade construction made of renewable materials including coastal timber.
4. AFFORDABLE HOUSING, ENERGY SELF-RELIANCE
The new towns on the SCSH would sell single family homes on ¼ acre lots for $300,000 including an EV in the driveway and a solar panel on the roof. Using shelf-ready components roof mounted solar panels in new SCSH construction would deliver 50% electric energy self-sufficiency. Homeowners can use that energy to reduce their electrical bills; sell it back to the utility in two-way smart connections; or run their EVs on free fuel. The combination of local energy collection and walkable towns can return a sizeable dividend to every family. Domestic solar energy production presents the prospect of adding GDP to the economy at every street address.
New townsites located along the Sunshine Coast Super Highway would house up to 5,000 residents each. Spaced 8 km or 5 miles apart, the new capacity for population growth on the Sunshine Coast would approach 150,000 new residents. That population would be additional to new residents locating in municipalities and towns already existing all around the edges of the Salish Sea from Nanaimo to Lions Bay.
The bottleneck of the Fraser Valley has restricted new home construction contributing to sky-high pricing in local housing markets. The influx of new housing localy would keep home prices affordable along the SCSH and possibly beyond.
5. POWER TRANSMISSON AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS
The SCSH would bring fibre optics to local communities while following power lines from hydro-electric generation sites whenever possible.
6. FOUR DECOMMISSIONED FERRY SERVICES
Savings from ferry operations can offset maintenance costs on the Sunshine Coast Highway. The SCSH would create savings by making several ferry services obsolete:
- Campbell River – Quadra Island
- Quadra Island – Cortes Island
- Courtney – Powell River
- Langdale – Horseshoe Bay
7. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Redirecting growth pressures from the Lower Mainland to the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island can create an economic engine generating employment and realizing new opportunities for investment and growth for generations to come.
Opportunities in construction, commerce and human services will follow the construction of the SCSH. Providing a fixed-link between Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, and the Lower Mainland will not just lower transportation costs for consumer goods. It will create a new regional economy grounded on the Salish Sea.
8. A LASTING LEGACY
The SCSH legacy will be building a model of sustainable urbanism complete with the responsible management of its pristine natural ecosystems.
SCSH townsites and workplaces will show us how to build in concert with nature supporting higher levels of social functioning and balanced economic growth.
Notes: Earthquake and Wind Design for Bridges in the Pacific Rim
The Akashi Kaikyō or Pearl Bridge connecting the city of Kobe and Awaji Island over the Akashi Strait has an unsupported span of 1,991 meters (6,523 feet). It is the longest unsupported span in the world. Construction finished in 1998. The suspension bridge was designed with a dual-hinged stiffening girder system, withstanding winds of up to 180 mph and earthquakes measuring 8.5 on the Richter scale. The bridge can expand up to 7 ft due to thermal expansion. The design features a pendulum system with tuned mass dampers operating at the resonance frequency of the bridge to dampen forces. The two main towers of the Akashi Kaikyō rise 978 ft over sea level. While still under construction the Hanshin earthquake of 17 January 1995 (6.9 Richter) pushed the towers apart increasing the central span by one meter. The cost in US dollars is estimated at $3.6 billion (1998). Design: Honshu Shikoku Bridge Authority, Japan.
The Great Belt Fixed link in Denmark combines five structures to link the islands of Zealand and Funen. A road suspension bridge and a twin bored railway tunnel reach the intermediary Sprogø island. The West Bridge, a box girder bridge for rail and road, reaches Funen. The center piece is a suspension bridge spans 1,624 meters.
Akashi-style bridges would suffice to complete the SCSH. One would be built at the mouth of Desolation Sound, the other at Jervis Inlet. Although Denmark is not actively seismic, the Danish example is a good case study for the SCSH.