A multi-million dollar state-of-the-art weigh scale complex for commercial vehicles is to be built along Hwy16 in Thornhill.
At a cost of more than $15 million, the preferred site is between Novotny Street and Kirkaldy Street, offline from the highway on the Thornhill Frontage Road.
It’s replacing the former weigh scale location adjacent to the old Hwy16/Hwy37 four-way stop which was removed to make way for the roundabout now being built there.
To date, the federal government has provided $15 million but an additional and still unknown amount will be needed from the province, indicated the provincial highways and infrastructure ministry which is responsible for the project.
“The project is in its early conceptual and development stages. Consultation with Indigenous communities, public and industry will inform the project design and scope, and final budget will be confirmed once this is completed,” indicated a statement from the ministry.
Early planning calls for a parking lot, scale, indoor and outdoor inspection area and construction of left and right turn lanes from Hwy 16 into and out of the new facility.
The ministry is also forecasting that 300 construction and other jobs will be created over the life of the project.
“Construction would include road and paving lot construction (labourers and equipment operators), building construction (carpenters, concrete mason workers) and electronic and technology works for the scales,” said the ministry.
It’s to feature state-of-the-art technology aimed at easing the time commercial vehicle drivers would otherwise have to spend at the scales.
“The Weigh2GoBC program is a network of weigh-in-motion and automatic vehicle identification technologies which allow commercial vehicles to keep moving while being weighed, helping them to achieve faster, more efficient travel times,” the ministry stated.
“Participating drivers register for the program and carry a transponder on their dash. Vehicles with a registered transponder are inspected for safety by an inspection officer, and given a short term exemption on future stops.”
“Vehicles with a registered transponder communicate with Weigh2GoBC stations upon approach. At a weigh-in-motion equipped station, the vehicle is identified and checked for height, weight and safety credentials while travelling at highway speeds,” the ministry continued.
With the new weigh scale in-service date unknown and the former one now gone, officials from the British Columbia Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement agency are using a mobile weigh station that can be used at pullouts.
“This new [mobile] weigh station can be set up in minutes and weigh trucks while they slowly drive over the scale. The flexibility of this new scale allows staff to respond quickly to areas requiring additional oversight,” said the transportation ministry.
Additionally, officers conduct mobile enforcement on highways and side roads, the ministry added.
The $15 million from the federal government money comes from its National Trades Corridors Fund which is billed as a program to improve the performance of the transportation system to increase the value and volume of goods exported from Canada to overseas markets and “to generate new overseas trade as a result of the investment.”
That’s a different program than the federal New Build Canada Fund which four years ago budgeted $17.5 million toward an overpass spanning CN’s tracks which cross Hwy16 west of Terrace toward Prince Rupert.
The province was to add $19.5 million for a total project cost of $37 million but when costs began to climb, the project was shelved.