Heavy construction loads add to the difficulty of BC Ferries trips to the Gulf Islands

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dated: 2022-11-20 14:24:50 .

Turns out the Salish Heron doesn’t have a weight problem — it’s just seeing a lot more heavy construction vehicles amid the construction boom in the southern Gulf Islands

BC Ferries has received permission to carry heavier loads on the Salish Heron as more heavy vehicles use the vessel between Swartz Bay and the South Gulf Islands.

Lloyd’s Register told BC Ferries on Friday that the vessel can now carry an additional 150 tonnes – the equivalent of three more construction vehicles.

Transport Canada has engaged Lloyd’s to act on its behalf. Classifies and certifies ships and may approve special requirements for ships.

BC Ferries made the request because such heavy construction vehicles, which can weigh 60 tonnes or more fully loaded, can consume much of the ferry’s weight allowance.

Earlier this month, the Salish Heron left Swartz Bay with empty deck space, leaving several drivers behind after her load of utility vehicles consumed her weight. Those who remained had to wait four hours for the next departure.

Several large generator trucks appeared on board the Mayne Queen on Friday as it left Swartz Bay to stop at Saturna, Galiano and Mayne Islands.

Scott Wright of the Isle of May, who works as a joiner for new homes and renovations, said the construction sector was “booming”: “Everyone seems to be building new homes. It really accelerated after COVID.”

Census data released in February identified the southern Gulf Islands as one of the fastest-growing areas in the country.

Population growth on the islands far outpaced the rest of the province between 2016 and the last census in 2021. While BC grew by 7.6 per cent, the southern Gulf Islands – excluding Salt Spring – saw growth of 29 per cent.

Mayne Island’s population grew by 37.4 percent during that time, followed by Galiano Island at 33.7 percent, Saturna Island at 31.4 percent, South Pender at 30.2 percent and North Pender at 19.4 percent.

Government infrastructure projects such as road and trail work also contribute to commercial truck traffic to the islands.

Last month, the Swartz Bay-Southern Gulf Islands route saw the second highest volume of commercial vehicles in a single month since April 2009, said Deborah Marshall, spokeswoman for BC Ferries.

Braedon Bigham, owner of Braedon’s Big Digem Excavating and Trucking on Pender, said business on the island is growing steadily. “Every year we get busier and busier.”

When the pandemic hit, buyers bought properties on the islands and many moved to the islands, he said.

When questions first arose about the carrying capacity of the Salish Heron, BC Ferries said it was considering replacing the newest vessel with an older Salish-class ferry.

But the company found that the change didn’t make sense.

Bruce Paterson, director of marine architecture at BC Ferries, said the difference in weight between the newer Salish Heron and other Salish ferries equates to a difference in draft of about two centimeters – the distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull.

“From our point of view there is no problem with the weight of the Salish Heron. She weighs what she’s supposed to weigh,” said Ed Hooper, executive director of shipbuilding at BC Ferries. “It has the payload we were looking for.”

The Salish Heron order was delivered to BC Ferries’ specifications, he said – but construction vehicles can easily weigh hundreds of tonnes.

Paterson added that construction vehicle traffic is episodic. “We accidentally got into this cycle where we’re building, we’ve got road repairs,” he said. “With us, everything happens at the same time.”

When BC Ferries defines the weight a ship should carry, it looks at traffic statistics to get an idea of ​​the requirements, he said.

If the ship was designed to carry too many heavy vehicles, it would have more of a box shape, resulting in higher fuel consumption over the life of the ferry, he said.

BC Ferries plans to seek permission from Lloyd’s to carry heavier weights on other Salish class ferries in the future.

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Heavy construction loads add to the difficulty of BC Ferries trips to the Gulf Islands

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Source https://canadatoday.news/ca/heavy-construction-loads-add-weight-to-bc-ferries-trips-to-the-gulf-islands-155423/

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