The province has streamlined the permitting process for trucks hauling large loads from two Lower Mainland ports through northern B.C. to Alberta.
Project Cargo Corridor permits will allow large loads meeting specific criteria to travel between the Fraser Surrey Docks and Lynnterm East Gate ports to Alberta via Highways 5 and 16 without going through the normal extraordinary-load approval process. The normal process can take up to 12 business days to approve, while Project Cargo Corridor permits can be issued in as little as two business days, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
"The number of requests for extraordinary load approvals continues to increase every year," a ministry spokesperson said via email. "In 2019, there were about 8,000 extraordinary load approvals issued, and those resulted in about 3,700 extraordinary load permits issued. Not every approval results in a permit, because sometimes multiple carriers will be applying to move the same load, and some approvals result in multiple permits."
Extraordinary loads are those which are large or heavy enough that they require analysis to ensure the infrastructure along the proposed route - roads, bridges, overpasses, etc. - can handle it without being damaged.
"There is a huge variety of loads this covers: everything from hydro dam equipment or wind farm components to industrial equipment that is too big and heavy to drive down the road on its own," the spokesperson said in an email.
To be eligible for permits, the load must be "non-reducible," meaning it can't be disassembled into smaller loads without damaging it.
To qualify for the Project Cargo Corridor permits, the combined truck and payload can weigh up to 125 tonnes, have an overall height of up to 4.88 metres, a width of up to five metres and a length of up to 50 m.
"The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has been working on putting these corridor approvals together for some time, in response to increased volume in the extraordinary load process and interest from industry and the ports," the ministry spokesperson said. "If the program works well for industry by saving time and making the process more efficient, the ministry will look at implementing for other corridors. Should the program be expanded to other corridors, Highway 16, with its access to the Port of Prince Rupert, would very likely be considered."