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HomeMiscellanyLower Lynn, upper budget: scope creep doubles freeway fix

Lower Lynn, upper budget: scope creep doubles freeway fix

Bob Mackin

A North Vancouver highway project meant to alleviate traffic jams, and help federal and B.C. Liberals get re-elected, is scope creep central.

Jan. 28: $150 million

In April 2015, the Harper Conservative government threw its support behind the project, which was estimated to cost $100 million.

By early 2016, with the Trudeau Liberals in power, the cost rose to $150 million. A sign with that figure, but missing the federal government logo, was erected at the top of The Cut.

It was still standing on Jan. 28, the day after politicians — including the four North Shore Liberal MLAs — announced a fourth phase for the project and a new $198 million price tag.

That’s conveniently $2 million shy of $200 million.

For all intents and purposes, this fledgling project has doubled in cost. A new sign was spotted March 25, and it includes the Liberal-ordered, politically strategic message “600 new jobs.”

The scheduled completion date of 2021 is also strategic. That’s a B.C. election year.

March 25: $198 million

On March 31, workers were busy erecting another sign on the opposite side of the highway, touting more highway improvements.

No doubt, North Shore drivers deserve to be ignored no longer. The afternoon traffic jams to depart the North Shore for Vancouver and points east have become bigger than those in the morning. But North Shore residents also deserve transparent and fiscally responsible infrastructure projects that aren’t engineered for vote-buying.

Blacktop politics is a B.C. tradition and, in the spirit of Socred legend Flyin’ Phil Gaglardi, that’s what the BC Liberals hope can drive them to another sweep of the four North Shore ridings.