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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Criteria for river crossing locations: a case study approach Harkness, Gary Cameron


A comprehensive examination of the process of determining locations for river crossings constitutes the basic subject of this thesis. This process is highly complex and involves a variety of interrelated governmental and technical problems. The various financial and administrative responsibilities of the three levels of Canadian government provide a complicated operational framework within which river crossings and other transportation facilities are located and constructed. Similarly, inter-related locational criteria, such as land use and transportation needs and engineering requirements, pose formidable problems for the design and location of transportation facilities. In order that these inter-related problems are coped with effectively, it is proposed: That in Canada, the Provincial Government should use a comprehensive planning approach, within a framework of intergovernmental participation, to determine the location of river crossings within the Provincial highway system. The investigation is limited in scope to an analysis of river crossings that are the constitutional responsibility of the Provincial Governments in Canada. Reference is made to the financing and administration of transportation facilities in British Columbia for purposes of illustration. The administration and financing of highways is discussed in some detail since highways form the physical and functional framework for the planning of river crossings. The term "river crossing" is defined as a bridge or tunnel structure crossing any water barrier. An examination is made of the three levels of governmental responsibilities respecting transportation planning and of the need for inter-governmental participation during the process of determining river crossing locations. The examination includes a discussion of the relationship between the role of "executive authority" and the various financial and administrative responsibilities of the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments. It is concluded that because of its constitutional responsibilities respecting land use planning and highways, and its dominant financial role in the provision of highway facilities, the Provincial Government should act as the executive authority in the process of determining locations for Provincial river crossings. Regardless, however, of the financial arrangements between levels of government, there should be inter-governmental administrative participation during the process of locating river crossings. In particular, Municipalities having been delegated the responsibility for community planning should be given the opportunity to integrate proposed highway and river crossing facilities with local land use and transportation plans. It is suggested that a comprehensive planning approach provides for the consideration of all major governmental and technical factors pertinent to the location selection process. It is assumed that the transportation planning process for determining the design and location of overall transportation systems is basic to the comprehensive planning approach. An examination of the locational criteria related to river crossings confirms the need to consider all significant factors when determining locations for river crossings. A framework for location selection is developed in order to implement the comprehensive planning approach and to apply effectively the locational criteria to location selection problems. A case study investigation tests the validity of the hypothesis and the effectiveness of the framework for location selection. The case study concerns the process of determining a location for a Fraser River crossing in the Metropolitan Vancouver, B.C. area nine years ago. The decision to locate a tunnel crossing at Deas Island is evaluated in retrospect through the application of the location selection framework to the overall Fraser River crossing problem. From the case study analysis, it is concluded that the hypothesis proposed in this thesis is basically valid. The Provincial Government, because of its constitutional and financial responsibilities, should act as the executive authority in determining river crossing locations within the Provincial highway system. Inter-governmental participation, especially administrative, is essential to the integration of Federal, Provincial and Municipal transportation and land use functions. The use of the comprehensive planning approach and its related framework for location selection facilitates the consideration of all significant factors pertinent to the determination of river crossing locations. However, the comprehensive planning approach should be so defined as to include broad transportation and land use policies which would serve as basic guidelines in the process of determining river crossing locations.

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