FEDERAL National Revenue Minister Kerry-Lynne Findlay, MP for Delta-Richmond East, along with B.C.’s Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone officially opened B.C.’s newest highway – the South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) last Saturday.

The new four-lane highway is a key piece of B.C.’s transportation network, which will strengthen the province’s economy and make travelling and commuting quicker and easier.

“The completion of the South Fraser Perimeter Road is good news for the Metro Vancouver region. It means a better road network and more capacity to transport goods to and from fast-growing markets throughout the Asia-Pacific region,” said Findlay. “This project demonstrates that when we work together with our partners through the Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, we can develop projects that facilitate international trade and create jobs and economic growth in local communities across Canada.”

SFPR connects to all five major Fraser River crossings, which will save motorists time and offer more travel options. As an example, travel time between Highway 1 and the Tsawwassen ferry terminal is now less than 30 minutes, compared with travel times of double that using Highway 10.

“The SFPR is a key part of our commitment to expanding our markets and improving the safe and efficient movement of goods and people,” said Stone. “This new route is a game-changer for industry, commuters and tourists – it will cut commute times for families and make B.C. more competitive by connecting key port and rail facilities with access to borders, the Tsawwassen ferry terminal and the B.C. Interior.”

Completing the SFPR was a key goal in the province’s Pacific Gateway Transportation Strategy, which supports the ‘The BC Jobs Plan’ to expand markets for B.C. products and strengthen infrastructure to get goods to market, ensuring B.C is North America’s gateway for Asia Pacific trade.

The SFPR will generate economic and business opportunities and lead to 7,000 long-term jobs in Delta and Surrey through improved industrial development opportunities along the corridor. More than 4,000 jobs were created during construction.

“Our community will benefit hugely from the opening of the South Fraser Perimeter Road,” said Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “The new route provides greater access to the Tilbury industrial area, taking commercial trucks off Highway 99 and River Road. This will make for safer, smoother travel for our residents throughout the community.”

The SFPR provides an efficient and convenient transportation corridor, with connections to major trade gateways for commercial traffic. This new route will also separate commercial traffic from residential areas, improving community safety and the quality of life for families.

“The SFPR will allow goods to move more freely around the region by truck,” said Trace Acres, Vice President, BC Trucking Association. “In addition to increasing the efficiency of the Gateway, it will help lower emissions by limiting the number of stops trucks have to make travelling between ports, ferries, businesses and borders.”

The Government of Canada, through the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative, provided $365 million toward the corridor. The Government of B.C. contributed the remainder.