Figure 1: This image shows the extent of the Highway 1 and Port Mann Bridge expansion project and land cover. The primary land uses in the area of the project include: urban, agriculture, forests, wetland and water.
The study area for this analysis is the Highway 1/Port Mann bridge improvement project area located in the heart of the Metro Vancouver region. The Highway 1/Port Mann Bridge expansion construction project recently completed a widening of roughly 37 kilometers of highway stretching from Steelworker’s Memorial Bridge to 216 St. in Langley, B.C., Canada (Pawson, 2015). Figure 1 above illustrates the study area of this project. This includes a complete expansion onto the Port Mann Bridge crossing the Fraser River from 8 to 10 lanes (Pawson, 2015). This is a highway that many people in the region use for transportation and is often congested with traffic. The region houses roughly 2.4 million people (B.C. Statistics, 2015) and covers an area of about 2,900 square kilometers (Statistics Canada, 2015). In the Metro Vancouver region, projections are estimating that by 2040, the population will increase by over one million people (Metro Vancouver, 2014). The diversity of regions, which the highway passes through, presents high variability with respect to the vulnerability of each region. Hundreds of parks are present within the Metro Vancouver area and these host numerous species of wildlife. The area surrounding the proposed construction zone around the highway is mostly comprised of urban infrastructure, however the highway does run adjacent to a few large regional parks including Tynehead, Surrey Bend, Burnaby Lake, Robert Burnaby Park, Deer Lake, and Colony Farm Regional Parks. The Burnaby and Deer lakes are located on either side of the highway less than a kilometer away in Burnaby, and the Bon Accord Creek is located about half a kilometer away immediately after the Port Mann Bridge on the Surrey side of the Fraser River. Highway 1 is situated less than a kilometer from both Burnaby Lake to the north and Deer Lake to the south. According to the BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer on the government website, both of these lakes are hot spots for a variety of fish, birds, and other wildlife (Giuliano, 1985). An assessment of the impacts associated with the expansion of the highway is vital to evaluate the impacts on the surrounding wildlife. This analysis will involve the examination of the area surrounding the proposed stretch of highway undergoing the renovation to discover the areas affected and the level of severity.