A proposed bridge that would connect Gabriola Island to Vancouver Island has been officially ruled out by the B.C. government.

With the price estimated to be between $258-million to $520-million, the cost of such a bridge would outweigh any potential benefits, according to the Gabriola Island Fixed Link Feasibility Study.

That means residents will continue to have to take BC Ferries sailings to get to Vancouver Island or to the mainland.

“There is simply not enough compelling evidence to proceed with further work on a fixed link to Gabriola Island,” Transportation Minister Todd Stone said in a media release. "Our goal is to ensure coastal communities are connected in an affordable, efficient and sustainable manner. This study shows that continuation of a coastal ferry service for Gabriola Island residents is the best way to achieve that goal."

B.C. said it looked at every aspect of the bridge proposal in its study, including alignments, road connections, construction costs, operation and maintenance costs, travel time, reliability and flexibility.

While it found that a number of combinations of road and bridge options would be technically feasible, none of the options would be as cost-effective as the ferry link.

The average estimated project cost was pegged at $359-million.

Costs aside, the project would face “significant considerations” with archaeological and environmental conditions that would have to be met if it went ahead, the study concluded.

A petition to have the government study the feasibility of a bridge was put forward in 2014 by Gabriola residents fed up over perceived problems with ferry service.

The proposed bridge would have linked Cedar, just south of Nanaimo, to Mudge Island, and Mudge Island to Gabriola Island.

The feasibility study was expected to cost about $200,000.