Second Downtown Entrance

future vehicle bridge 01 01

(last updated November 12, 2021)

The District is planning for a future second vehicle crossing at the Mamquam Blind Channel. This work will be informed by the results of the ongoing Downtown Entrance Study, which is assessing current and future traffic volumes and patterns in the vicinity of the existing Cleveland Avenue entrance to Downtown Squamish. 

The new Pemberton Bridge, as identified in the District’s 2031 Multi-Modal Transportation Plan, will connect the new Laurelwood Road with Pemberton Avenue in Downtown Squamish. The bridge will supplement the infrastructure shown in the image above, which was provided by the Waterfront Landing (Sea and Sky) development, to create a new second connection to Downtown Squamish from Highway 99. This new connection will take pressure off the Cleveland Avenue/Highway 99 intersection which already frequently exceeds capacity—backs up northbound highway traffic—during peak times. 

This bridge connection was assessed as part of the 2017 Downtown Truck Route Study and was recommended for medium-to-longer term implementation, to align with the (at the time) future development of the Waterfront Landing site.   

The Truck Route Study process involved extensive public consultation and is available on the District’s website for review.  The document can be viewed on the Downtown Truck Route Study page.

If Pemberton Avenue and Laurelwood Avenue are designated as a truck route in the future, the vast majority of traffic using these streets will actually be personal vehicles. For reference, the truck route study observed that the percentage of truck traffic versus total vehicle traffic using the downtown streets was between 2% to 4% on Cleveland Avenue and 4% to 7% on Loggers Lane. In comparison, typical truck percentages observed in other communities are between 3% to 5% on major roads and between 7% to 10% on truck routes. 

Based on these numbers, the report observed that the number and percentage of trucks observed in downtown Squamish during typical conditions is relatively low. As such, exhaust emissions from truck traffic will therefore account for a small portion of overall vehicle emissions. 

Laurelwood Road was always anticipated to be a future truck route and, as such, was designed from the very beginning to accommodate both personal vehicles and large trucks to ensure safe usage by both vehicular traffic and active transportation users. The future bridge will be designed to accommodate safe active transportation facilities and integrate with existing and future pedestrian and bike routes. On the downtown side, upgrades to Pemberton Avenue and Loggers Lane are also planned to improve traffic flow and pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Safety and separation of users will be of primary importance in the planning and design of this important connection.  

The future Pemberton Bridge will connect the Valleycliffe, Hospital Hill and Crumpit Woods neighbourhoods as well as Squamish Hospital with a more direct active transportation and non-highway preferred access to and from downtown. The bridge provides an additional emergency access to and from downtown Squamish without an at-grade rail crossing.  

The Pemberton Bridge is included in the Development Cost Charges (DCC) Bylaw, which identifies growth-related projects that would qualify for DCC funds. Municipalities levy DCCs on all new development to pay for new or expanded infrastructure such as sewer, water, drainage, parks and roads necessary to adequately service the demands of that new development.   

Project timeline: 2025 – 2030 (estimated)

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Comments

  • Cliff Jennings Aug 29, 2022, 4:20 PM (3 months ago)

    Does the amount of truck traffic include the large trucks coming from the Port? Doesn't CN run a railway that could handle this traffic?
    Did CN buy the railway just for the land that came with it?

    • Communications Aug 30, 2022, 11:14 AM (3 months ago)

      Thank you, Cliff. The traffic volume numbers provided on this page do include truck traffic to and from Squamish Terminals. The District has no control over how the Terminals utilizes the rail system and as such, need to accommodate truck traffic using our street network. The Terminals does currently use the rail system to send and/or receive goods.

  • Sharan Gordon May 7, 2022, 7:11 AM (7 months ago)

    Laurelwood road is right in the middle of a huge child friendly neighbourhood, that already has a honking train running though it and now you want to add heavy trucks driving up and down. This is not right. You cannot have a child friendly complex next to a busy truck road. Can this road not me built connecting Pemberon directly to the highway without having to build a bridge? Especially for trucks?

  • Andrew Flynn Feb 26, 2022, 12:36 AM (10 months ago)

    Can the director of major projects please comment on the concerns people have outlined below about the use of this bridge as a proposed truck route? Why can’t trucks continue to travel down the highway and not through a residential neighbourhood?

  • Mark Peterson Jan 23, 2022, 8:07 AM (11 months ago)

    Not sure how this will work with the 120 vessels that are already moored upstream from this bridge ? How do they get through the bridge? Not one comment from the “planners” regarding this issue. If the bridge goes in, the traffic through the new sea and sky village will be exacerbated. There is virtually no marine plan from DOS planners as there is no further marine availability for residents. The yacht club is full. too expensive and restrictive for many residents of the sea to sky and we see no future plans to expand marine facilities . The public dock will not accept any wait lists additions as it is full. New marina could be a great revenue stream for DOS.

    • Communications Jan 25, 2022, 8:17 AM (11 months ago)

      Thank you, Mark. Here is a response from the Director of Major Projects:

      In the image above that shows the proposed bridges crossing the Mamquam Blind Channel, the crossing shown in green is the future ‘Pemberton Bridge’, which would provide the second vehicular entrance to downtown. This bridge would be built right beside the existing railway bridge, connecting Pemberton Avenue to the new Laurelwood Road constructed as part of the Waterfront Landing (Sea-and-Sky) development. This bridge will be built at roughly the same elevation as the railway bridge, so it will not impede vessels any more than the railway and highway bridges already do.

      A second bridge, shown in orange below, will be built by the Waterfront Landing developer in the coming years. This bridge will accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists only and, importantly, will be able to open to allow larger vessels to cross through the bridge at any time. The developer, in consultation with the District, worked with Transport Canada to develop a bridge Operational Plan that satisfied the requirements of the Navigable Waters Act and that was acceptable to the District. Essentially, boaters will be able to call in to request an opening of the bridge to allow passage at all times of the day. The Operational Plan describes the required response times for bridge openings along with many other operational and safety requirements. The following link provides some additional information on both bridges: https://squamish.ca/business-and-development/projects-in-our-community/waterfront-landing/waterfront-landing-transportation-infrastructure

      In addition to the information provided above, here are some comments on Mamquam Blind Channel marine planning:

      • Addressing marine moorage availability and necessary infrastructure is identified in the District’s Marine Action Strategy (Focus Areas 3 Marine Economy and 4 Marine Gateway). Squamish has seen increased demand with continued growth; our engagement with marinas and the community has underscored this demand and deep waitlists for moorage. Additional marinas are planned within the Sea and Sky development’s marine village, as well as the Oceanfront (MBC west side) to be built in time. To ensure both resident (long-term) and visitor moorage space within marinas, the draft marine zoning proposed for mixed use marine areas (M2) sets out a requirement for both long-term and temporary moorage slips to be provided as a condition of use.

      • This year the District is initiating a downtown marine access review as well as a dredge
      maintenance and funding strategy to support navigation in the channel. Community engagement for these projects will be launching soon. On the marine access front, a public survey on ocean access as well as boat launching will inform needs, priorities and recommendations for Council consideration. Please follow and consider registering at Let’s Talk Squamish, the District’s online public engagement hub for upcoming information and to participate in the engagements.


  • Heike Adams Oct 21, 2021, 7:07 PM (14 months ago)

    Here are the major concerns I see with building this bridge at the Sea and Sky development and making this a trucking route:
    • No consultation with directly affected stakeholders – The consultation studies carried out previously have not consulted nor taken into consideration the effects this would have directly on the residents of the Sea and Sky development, as the development simply did not exist yet. How can this be considered a fair process as these residents are mostly affected by the negative side effects ?
    • Over 900 young families with children -The Sea and Sky development will consist of over 900 family-oriented townhomes, which means easily over 1,500 residents, and is geared towards young families with small children; in addition, there is a proposal in the works to open a daycare at the bottom of Laurelwood Rd; this will be a heavily residential area with a lot of families and children moving about outside – again, the studies have never considered these residents. What about the safety of all these children?
    • Outdated studies by time of proposed Pemberton bridge construction - At the time of writing, the 2015 truck study is already 5 years old, by the time enough funding is available for a possible Pemberton bridge (~2030), the study will be close to 15 years old; in a rapidly changing community like Squamish, the findings of the studies will be outdated and no longer representative of the changed neighbourhoods.
    • Conflicting with Active Transportation - The development will have over 2km of trails encircling it, with a pedestrian bridge going into downtown. As this is a progressive step towards better Active Transportation in Squamish, how would this mix with throwing in a major road encouraging highway traffic, let alone trucks and dangerous logging trucks, go through the neighbourhood?
    • No residents living directly around Cleveland Intersection - The proposed Pemberton bridge is being considered to alleviate traffic at the Cleveland intersection; I would like to stress that nobody is actually living at that intersection, it is a commercial area bound to always have traffic. How can Council consider bringing the traffic woes to a residential area where the safety and health of over 1,000 residents will be affected by the change?
    • Health effects on residents– I quote from an article from the Squamish Chief of May 26, 2016: councilor Susan Chapelle did not comment on any particular option but said she does not support large diesel vehicles heading through populated areas because of the risk of lung cancer. “There is nowhere that allows large trucks to travel through populated areas,” she said. “Diesel fumes are a known carcinogen, and I would not support truck density in an area with children or seniors.”

    This bridge is a band-aid solution that looks nice on paper maybe but council is not respecting the best interests of the hundreds of voters who will be living in the area of the proposed bridge / trucking route.

  • Sharan Gordon May 21, 2021, 9:26 AM (19 months ago)

    I have just bought a townhouse in Sea and Sky believing it to be a community based development. And now I learn that this road and bridge to downtown Squamish is to aid logger trucks? What is this community? For families or trucking business ? cannot be both. District of Squamish please choose and inform those of us who are buying into this new family development which one is it? Right now I feel very insecure of my new purchase

  • Lisa Lewkowicz May 19, 2021, 12:06 AM (19 months ago)

    As a resident of the Sea and Sky community I have concerns about how any car and trucking traffic that will access the bridge will have on our family friendly community. The major problems I see is increased car traffic in the neighborhood which increase noise and the health and safety of residents, increased tourists parking in our community as tourist chose to walk over the bridges into town, and what is even worse is that commercial and logging trucks who chose to access this alternative route pose risks to our pedestrians and create noise pollution.
    The residents of Sea and Sky were never consulted in any of the studies you conducted initially which seems hardly fair.
    Sea and Sky will be a development of over 1000 homes and estimated 3000 residents that will be directly impact by this bridge. Our families, children and dogs regularly access these streets and pedestrian walk ways and the car/truck traffic that this bridge will bring to our neighborhood has more risks that outweigh the benefits. We would like to have a voice in these decisions, as we will be the ones mostly affected by it. This is a family-oriented community and having a major road with highway traffic and trucks running through it seems completely contradictory.
    I would strongly encourage the District to reconsider all available options and remove the bridge from consideration.

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