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Why Not Trucks? – VI By Rail!

Why Not Trucks?

Follow the Ruts……..
Why not Rail? >>

See greenhouse gas emission comparisons, traffic estimates, all in one comprehensive spreadsheet at What are the Numbers.

Here is what the Raven Project says about transportation (March 2010 – See frontpage for verbal update from 2012):

Transportation to Markets
The project has considered transporting the coal to one of three port options: Middle Point in Campbell River, Duke Point in Nanaimo, and Port Alberni. Following the initial review of transportation options, Port Alberni has emerged as the preferred port option due to its available facilities, proximity to markets and accessibility by either road or rail. Further studies are required to confirm this option best meets the needs of the project.
The preferred transportation method is by truck, although transporting coal by rail to Port Alberni is still an alternative if the public prefers it and it is cost competitive to trucking.

What they don’t say:

B Train Coal Truck at Sparwood, BC
B-Train Coal Truck at Sparwood BC in early September 2010. Thank you Dennis

#1:  According to official BC Ministry of Transportation data, 3 “B-Train” trucks per hour 24/7/365 represents anywhere between a 250%-1250% increase in that class  of truck on Highway 19 north of Qualicum and a 15% increase in truck traffic overall (BC Gov. E&N Freight analysis).

#2:  3 trucks per hour represents *one way* traffic.  These trucks will of course be making their way back to the mine so one must consider both directions (6 trucks an hour) will be affected and double the congestion and emissions will actually occur.

#3:  3 trucks an hour represents a new lower estimate of trucks and annual production (0.7-1.1 million tonne a year).  At the originally estimated 1.5 million tonnes of coal exported a year, the truck count would rise to closer to 5 trucks an hour, or one entering and exiting every 10-12 minutes, 365 days a year (see animation).

#4:  The majority of the route through Port Alberni itself will be on municipal roads which are already under extreme pressure from existing truck traffic and are already rutted and require nearly annual maintenance at rising expense to a City already struggling to maintain its tax base.  B-Trains would actually distribute their weight better than most trucks, but the sheer volume would still cause rutting of the roadways.  Maintenance of Redford St., including grinding and paving,  costs $60,000 per block.

#5:  Alternative truck route options, such as the proposed “Haggard’s Highway” Horne Lake Connector, or the use of private forest company roads near Mt. Arrowsmith or Comox Lake have many problems themselves, such as high cost, or lack of provincial oversight.

The last BC Ministry of Transport study estimated $40 Million in 2005 for a route starting at Horne Lake and connecting to Highway 4 near the entrance to Port Alberni. The study did not recommend the highway be pursued because it did not provide any advantage to the majority of highway 4 users.

A subsequent study done by the ACRD in 2008 estimated $38 million for a more southerly route connecting to Highway 4 at the top of the Alberni summit near Loon Lake. The results showed much higher likelihood of traffic being diverted from the existing route however no consideration was given to the effect of Raven Coal mine traffic on average speeds or on safety of the route.

In 2012 for local officials and activists are proposing up to $100 Million be spent on a Horne Lake route plus a ‘ring road’ to divert trucking around the south perimeter of Port Alberni.  Details have not yet been made public but information available indicates a plan similar to the 2005 study for the Horne Lake Connector which would likely mean similar results in terms of actually diverting traffic.

None of the studies address the major problems of increased traffic from Raven Coal through their entire routes nor the increase in CO2 emissions, smog or public safety or any comparison if truck traffic was diverted to the railway.

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Send your concern to Government!

Follow the Ruts……..
Why not Rail? >>