May 26, 2017

Port Says Deeper Fraser River not needed, time to Twin the Tunnel, Nix the Massey Bridge?

The timing of this announcement after the Provincial election is puzzling.As reported in the Surrey Leader the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced yesterday that despite everything that is being said-“they have no plans to deepen the Fraser River to accommodate larger vessels.”
In a strangely late announcement, the Port emailed the media stating that “the port authority recently completed an analysis of the river and its potential to accommodate increasing trade, that considered a variety of possible uses of existing port lands and assessed dredging the river at different depths, both with and without the removal of the George Massey Tunnel. The port authority’s analysis, completed in 2016, determined that deepening the Fraser River would be extremely costly, requiring extensive environmental study and consultation over many years.”
The study showed that with more use of the Port’s existing terminals  and further development of the port authority’s existing industrial lands along the water, the Fraser River will be well positioned to accommodate Canada’s growing trade without deepening the channel,” said Peter Xotta, vice president, planning and operations at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.
So if the existing tunnel is not a challenge for the Port’s development potential (despite the release of previous documents indicating that the future deeper draft is a consideration) and the existing tunnel is “not constraining the current development potential of the river” then why was the bridge the single-minded solution offered by the Provincial government?
The Port maintains a 36 kilometer long channel on the Fraser River’s south arm. Studies show that 2.5 to 3.5 million cubic meters of sediment is “deposited annually” in that part of the river and it is dredged in the lower reaches for flood protection ad flow capacity.
In this bridge/tunnel shell game is the plan to offer a twinning of the tunnel instead of the overbuilt multi-billion dollar bridge in exchange for the Port’s rapid industrial development of their 200 acres of properties along the Fraser?

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  1. As a side note, the twinning of the tunnel would probably require wider approach areas than the bridge (since there would have to be margin of separation between the parallel tubes.
    That would probably eat up some farmland and some of Deas Island Park depending on whether the new tube emerges at the same place as the existing tunnel (which creates a “Cut” through Deas Island Park) or remains underground longer to bypass the park.
    Presumably a parallel tube would be to the east, otherwise it would encroach on BC Ferries docks to the west.

  2. Regardless and which ever of the two main parties forms a minority government,the provincial political stage is very different than even a month ago. It’s doubtful the Greens, who will be wielding a balance-of-power position, would be inclined to counter the Mayors’ and Metro Vancouver’s collective preferences. The NDP would likely be likewise inclined. And the Liberals, should they continue to govern, will almost assuredly at the very least have a new minister of transportation.

    1. The need is for a two-lane supplementary tube on the east (upriver) side that will enable two lanes for rapid transit and, as an earlier step, for diverted traffic during the long-overdue completion of the seismic retrofit and almost-due refurbishing of the legacy tube. The construction can most likely be done within the existing Highway 99 corridor (i.e., the George Massey Tunnel Corridor, which widens as it approaches the river on each side, as the graphics show. Most likely it could follow the routes of the existing service roads, and that route happens to be clearly visible on the Deas Island side in the above photo. (Note: The supplementary tube would not necessarily be directly used for the rapid transit, which could be rapid bus, as long intended.)

      1. Given that the highway is three lanes plus one more for a bus lane already only 2 more lanes incl a dedicated bus lane is likely insufficient. All tunnels in total needs 6 lanes PLUS HOV/bus/public transit lanes, plus one more for them 50-100 bikes/day.

        1. That is only true if one of the aims is to increase congestion in Richmond.
          If one of the aims is to decrease tunnel congestion, the obvious step is to extend the hours of port operation and perhaps have some “rush hour” periods when trucks are discouraged from using the tunnel. After all, increased and untimely truck use has been the evident factor in increased tunnel congestion.
          In addition, if further tunnel capacity is ever needed, it is possible, though probably not desirable, to add another two-lane tube on the west (downstream) side of the tunnel. At least on the basis of the original design concept (thorough 1955 report by Crippen Wright Engineering Ltd.), it’s reasonable to think that adding a second supplementary tube later is not prohibitively more expensive than adding four lanes at once.

        2. Currently yes but that would change if there was an attractive way to cycle across the river.
          Yes, it’s not a key issue on this project of course but it should be included and be considered a given. The bridge design as it sits currently does not have much for cycling and would create conflict with them and people walking on the shared sidewalk design. If a second tunnel is made instead it should have cycling and a walking tubes in it. These should be considered mandatory and not negotiable.

        3. There is a MoTI policy which states that cycling infrastructure will be included on all new MoTI road projects. That is why there is a MUP on the proposed bridge. But to get the mode share numbers to change, we don’t just need a route across the river, we need connections on both sides as well. We need to create a network effect. MoTI proposed a 24 km project (Oak St Bridge to Hwy 91) with the MUP only on the 3.5 km bridge. The rest of the route they proposed to include no cycling infrastructure. That is a sure way of ensuring that the prediction of low volume comes true. It isn’t sufficient to say that the municipalities can worry about it. The best route may in fact be through a municipality for a portion of the 24 km, but the route should be funded by MoTI and delivered concurrently with the highway improvements. This is simply following published MoTI policy.
          This same issue exists on the Port Mann. There is a nice MUP on the upstream side of the new bridge. Then one arrives at the Coquitlam side, and has to figure out how to get to routes like the Central Valley Greenway. The highway was improved all the way in to 1st Ave, but the bike lanes end at United Blvd.
          There has been a group working with MoTI on both these issues for some time, coming up with consensus route recommendations for the Hwy 99 corridor, with connections to the Canada Line MUP, and all bike routes that cross the corridor as far as Hwy 91. If a tunnel is built instead of a bridge, the issue remains that safe and convenient routes that connect to it are still required. And the bike lane should not be located immediately adjacent to the crawler lanes for heavy trucks. Perhaps share a 2 lane section (half of a new tube) with transit, with dedicated cycling and walking spaces.

        4. adanac, you talk about conflicts with pedestrians on the bridge. Today I walked along the Arbutus Asphalt track for a few blocks around 12th and Broadway. I was there for about 45 minutes and saw maybe 7 bikes. The weather was super perfect.
          Once the bridge is built with the shared bike/footpath, just like Arbutus, there will not be any conflict between users.

        5. Anonymous/eric, it is interesting that you talk about pedestrian and bike traffic at non peak hours, suggesting that infrastructure therefore isn’t needed, while talking about the Massey Tunnel at peak hours, suggesting that it is peak hour volumes that determine the need.
          You should see the Arbutus Greenway, or the False Creek Seawall where I was riding, on Sunday afternoon.
          And you seem to believe the new bridge will be built. Is this the outcome of the NDP/Green review of the new bridge project?

        6. Anonymous. I guess the word “conflict” isn’t quite accurate. I guess I mean more discomfort. People stroll along and someone bikes by them. It can sometimes be startling. It’s not dangerous of course but for someone who maybe didn’t grow up with bikes moving around them it can seem like it.
          In the past we just threw cycling and walking together on shared paths and let them sort it out. Now we have too many people to do that.
          If we’re going to spend a bunch of money on a bridge or on a second tunnel, let’s do it right and have it wide enough to have a separate space for cycling and for walking.

    2. And a 10 lane bridge doesn’t encroach on the park? The supports for a 10 lane bridge are extensive on the park land and the noise alone is enough to overshadow any sounds of nature whereas a recessed entry to the tunnel attenuates the noise of thousands of vehicles. Conceptual drawings for this bridge project have been deliberately misleading and do not show the full impact on the park and farmlands both to the north and south of the Fraser River.

    3. @ guest, it looks like the dredged material was spread over a wide area at the mouths of the tunnel. The tunnel itself only needs a fairly narrow channel and if t he dredged material was used somewhere else you could feasibly lay a new tunnel within 50 m of the old, River sand is commonly used for pre-loading to compress soft soils on some sites.
      Regarding a bike and pedestrian walkway in the tunnel, the tunnel segments could be cast with a third cavity in the centre for this purpose, and to afford complete separation form the general traffic. I would think it should be at least one lane wide (5-6 m) to also act as an emergency escape route if there was a fire in the tunnel, and to allow emergency vehicles access separate from the main tunnels. That would make for two lanes (one tunnel cavity) for rail or bus transit, two general traffic lanes, and one bike / ped / emergency lane.

  3. So since it’s not really about moving big ships upstream but just another make-work project for mega builders, maybe they would be just as happy getting a tunnel project as they would have with getting a bridge project.

    1. It may also be symbolic. Many suburban and rural voters identify with a car-centred lifestyle. The same is true of key groups of political donors (car dealers, developers). If building a bridge makes them feel that you are identifying with their interests, it is irrelevant whether the bridge is actually a practical solution to the problem (or even whether they use it – I would be very curious to see feelings about the bridge in the interior). In that case, the bridge is a signal. The bigger the bridge, the bigger the budget, the bigger the signal. As a bonus, suburbanites tend to be more right-leaning: fostering sprawl creates right-leaning voters.
      Maybe I’m doing too cynical. Ideological blindness and rewarding friends actually seem less objectionable to me. But I can’t help wondering: who cares about buying mobility when you can buy votes?

      1. Sort of like the symbolism of tearing down the viaducts even though they have decades of usable life left in them, eh Jeff? Why build a downtown streetcar when you can blow the money on anti-car theatre?

        1. If removing the viaducts is just anti-car theatre then why are cars accommodated so well in the replacement plan? Cars will have it better off than with the viaducts still around.
          This idea that providing alternatives will take away from the dominant mode is complete nonsense.

        2. Removing the viaducts daylights what is now derelict land. They overshadow better uses. Maybe we need an earthquake on this site underlain with contaminated porridge to demonstrate one reason why they need to come down. And you omitted the fact the roads are being replaced.

      2. Don’t stereotype people, Bob. The viaducts are not my fight. I drive on them occasionally, but I can’t get too fussed about them one way or the other.
        Could tearing them down be symbolic? It’s an interesting suggestion. I see two key differences between the bridge and the viaducts.
        First, building a bridge is positive. “Anti-car” rhetoric is negative. Negativity gets people riled up, but to mobilize them you need a positive message. If your message is positive (e.g. a new neighbourhood in False Creek), then tearing down the viaducts probably isn’t anti-car symbolism.
        Second, an anti-car message is a loser unless it helps to mobilize a winning coalition of voters. Are you suggesting that the majority of Vancouverites are anti-car? If so, that’s a remarkable claim: you are granting a lot of political legitimacy to taking space away from cars. But I don’t think the constituency is there. That they are is a fantasy of victimhood. Car haters just don’t exist in numbers.
        In short, I don’t see how negative anti-car symbolism would help Vision. Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe they’re too stupid to see that. I dunno. I care more about my own city, Burnaby. Like I said, it’s not my fight.

        1. People in cars (or rapid bus/train) want traffic flow. Tunnel or bridge doesn’t matter here. If tunnel is cheaper, and safe, and less harmful to land use / environment then of course a tunnel should be built .. if ..

    2. To expand on that a little: Imagine that you live in Kelowna or Prince George. You rely on a car.
      The Province builds Skytrain. You think to yourself: That’s my tax money for something that will never help me. They just want to get people out of cars: but transit can never solve my problems. They don’t care about us out here.
      The Province builds a Massey Bridge. You think to yourself: This government gets it. They understand that I depend on my car. I probably won’t use this bridge: but when we need roads and bridges here, they will be there for me.

      1. Good point. I grew up in Kamloops, lived in the Lower Mainland for 9 years then moved back to Kamloops, so I can see both sides. In the Interior the bridge is probably the right answer, but in denser Metro Vancouver the Skytrain or some sort of rapid transit is the better answer. I’ve also met Vancouverites that are completely clueless about the Interior (beyond Hope), so it cuts both ways.

        1. Bus rapid transit is planned for the bridge. As is a cycle path and dedicated HOV vehicle lanes. The bridge is also being designed with a gradient that will accommodate a rail line being added if the region should later decide to do so.
          The bridge will also be less disruptive to the environment and use less farmland than would a second tunnel.
          There are commenters that live in Vancouver, dismiss completely the idea of a bridge and freely admit that they only go through the existing tunnel a couple of times a year.

        2. There is no cycle path planned for the bridge. There is a multi use path, or MUP, also known as a sidewalk.
          Now we just need it to connect to other routes along the length of the project, per existing MOTI policy.

        3. Of course, bus rapid transit could be incorporated in a second tunnel in dedicated HOV lanes as well. And with all the money saved by building a less expensive tunnel, more funding could be directed to that bus rapid transit. And with a lower gradient than the tall bridge, trucks, buses, and people on bikes would all have an easier climb. No need for two additional crawler lanes. The savings just keep adding up.

        4. If any cyclists encounter a pedestrian it will be an extraordinary event. Cyclists will have the lane all to themselves.
          Cycling through a tunnel full of vehicular traffic with diesel trucks would not be anyone’s idea of enjoyment. Cycling into a deep tunnel and then climbing back up out of it wouldn’t be much fun either. Deff not AAA quality bike path.
          The bridge will be a breath of fresh air for all.

        5. I thought the whole idea of the viewing platform and elevator to the lookout on a tower was for pedestrians. It isn’t like there is going to be a parking lot mid-span, so vehicle operators won’t be accessing it.
          There is no reason the active transportation has to be in the same tube with diesel truck traffic. A bigger issue is that in the current bridge design, the two MUPs are immediately next to the two crawler lanes for those diesel trucks, with another 8 lanes of traffic just beyond the crawler lanes. Cycling next to that will be a health risk.
          A new tunnel needn’t be deep. The current tunnel roadbed is 22 m down. Compare that to the 57 m clearance of the bridge, plus the thickness of the bridge deck, and it is about 1/3 the climb. Because it is so much less of a climb, there isn’t the same need to make it so steep either, so it could be designed with less than the 5% grade planned for the new bridge. Win-win.
          Lots of ways to make it not only an All Ages and Abilities (AAA) route, but also pleasant to use.

        6. The alternative plan is now for two new tunnels with one just for bicycles, with its own separate ventilation and other services systems. It would have to be sufficient in width for service vehicle access.
          Have you priced it?

        7. Bicycles are less than 0.1% of the traffic there. A sideshow.
          Who cycles from Richmond to Surrey, besides for enjoyment on weekends ? Will there be a toll per bike too ? or only for bikes that use oil-based tires ?

        8. People cycle to Tsawwassen all summer long. The shuttle is better than nothing but it’s a two hour wait if you miss it. The bus only carries two bikes.
          All bridges and tunnels should have cycling and walking accessibility. Unlike arterials in a street grid you can’t just go a block over if conditions are hostile to you.

      2. I am among those who are clueless about the interior.
        It occurred to me after I wrote this that the story could equally be told form the other direction, with the government taking symbolic action to placate the city (as many apparently believe Vancouver is doing with bicycle routes). In the long run, as population concentrates in the lower mainland, that will probably be the more frequent occurrence.
        I don’t want either to happen. It seems to me that this is another reason to reframe the debate around mobility, transcending the us-against-them of cars versus transit.

        1. Exactly. Once you start taking sides rather than seeing the whole system as it is, you go down the path of dogma. We need agnostic solutions (evaluated via multiple-account methods), which preclude a modally agnostic approach. It’s only those that lobby for a certain solution (e.g. bridge vs. tunnel vs. ?) or a certain mode (e.g. cars vs bus vs bike) that will feel unsettled by this. But that is human nature. Whether one likes it or not, we are heading into a connected, collaborative, and more technology-driven future and the very essence of human nature could be up for debate. But I digress…
          As for the George Massey Tunnel expansion, a complete and unbiased demand study needs to be done relative to the “new” changes we see are coming down the horizon in the near-term future. This requires opening the scope to all types of solutions and costs, including the need look at this area from a local-regional-system purview. There may be very cost-efficient solutions that may not need any expansion for the next decades (e.g. transit, carpools). And then technology may take over and reduce the need for any expansion at all given effective capacity increases will be feasible through future mobile platforms. I don’t have the answers, but this is my feeling in terms of the correct path and process.

        2. Sorry, the post above was unintentionally made anonymous. Anon postings are virtually uncredible so I would like to add credibility to it by revealing who wrote it.

        3. There are more studies that predate the over-engineered bridge that prove it’s not necessary. There are also geotechnical studies that put into doubt the capacity of the bridge to stay level and not sink into the Jell-O.
          If you are referring to the MoTI documents, then I need to draw attention to the Ten Myth propaganda piece they published. I suspect this white elephant is deigned to appease suburban political support, and to satiate the insatiable hunger of the BC Libs mega-road builder donors for tax money.

        4. Regarding the urban-rural divide and the democracy of mobility, I can see a lot of Merritt in building in intercity commuter and freight rail system in phases over two or three decades that links the whole shebang up as an alternative to the highways.

    3. Don’t be misled by the Port…
      Media Release from Port Metro Vancouver, September 28, 2012:
      “Port Metro Vancouver has been encouraging the BC Government to take action to address the long standing concern that the GMT presents a barrier to continued growth in the Fraser River terminals, in particular to Fraser Surrey Docks. The single biggest challenge that the GMT represents to ocean going vessels is related to ship ‘draft’, the depth of water required in order for those vessels to transit the Fraser River.”
      GMT: George Massey Tunnel

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  5. In light of these new facts a re-think is certainly suggested, as two more 2 lane tunnels are likely the far cheaper and environmentally less impactful choice than a massive bridge.
    Given that there are only 3 lanes on either side of the current tunnel perhaps only one more tunnel with 2 more lanes for cars and one more for bikes is the right & cheapest choice.
    We shall see.

    1. Legend has it that the George Massey originally designed the tunnels to have a walking and cycling section in it but that got nixed by an engineer who felt that everyone should drive for every trip.

    2. Just so everyone knows, it would be unlikely that a new structure would 2 lanes.
      It wouldn’t be much cheaper to build a smaller precast tube structure. Manufacture costs would scale at much smaller than linear rates. The overall excavation costs would also be pretty similar since the trenches and approaches would be similar complexity to construct regardless of the width of the structure.
      The tunnel would also likely need to have at least two main compartments with a fire wall down the middle. I’d imagine the emergency services probably quite like to have the ability to drive an ambulance or similar vehicle down an unobstructed tunnel in the event of an accident. So that means both sides of the firewall would be vehicle accessible. Unless you make each of the main compartments artificially narrow, then they are likely to be in excess of 1 lane wide. This also partially serves to meet the requirement of an escape passage.
      So the most logical configuration would likely be 2 Lanes North + Bike Lane + 2 Lanes South.

      1. This implies that a third, smaller passageway could be cast into the structure between the two larger passageways. This will allow bikes + pedestrians + emergency vehicles a separate passageway fully protected by firewalls. Venting, emergency doors, utilities and so on could be accommodated in the middle passageway.

  6. Any new tunnel would have a separate tube well ventilated for cyclists and pedestrians complete with escalator at each end similar to the Maas River tunnel. This was tincorporated in the original design of the George |Massey Tunnel but was cancelled by the government of the day for financial reasons and deemed to be unnecessary.

    1. There are better ways of spending $100 million on active transportation infrastructure other than a tunnel . A pedestrian & bike shuttle bus or ferry would cost pennies in comparison.

      1. I don’t think there is a proposal for a new active transportation tunnel. The discussion is about having a new tunnel divided into sections. The current Massey Tunnel has two vehicle sections. The original (Mass Tunnel) design had a third section for active transportation. It is all part of the same concrete pipe, not a separate tunnel.

        1. Not sure about beautification, but seismic upgrading would be a good idea. And there is one current tunnel, not tunnels.

        2. Fair enough. I see 2×2 tubes but yes they are likely like you depict, sans bike/per section, ie one segment. It seems the better approach although we will still lose some farmland on one side. But now with the new Green plus NDP power share agreement everything will get delayed at least a year. I might live to see a subway to UBC at the tender young age of 57.

        3. The NDP and Greens are both more likely to support rapid transit, cities, and the Mayor’s Council plans, than the Liberals have been. All of which bodes well for your subway sooner instead of later.

        4. During the campaign John Horgan said an NDP government would twin the Highway from Kamloops to Alberta. Does Andrew Weaver support that too?

        5. Google is your friend ;-).
          “7. A B.C. Green Government will develop a new 10-year, integrated transportation plan focused on affordable, clean transportation for British Columbians.
          Upgrading infrastructure in the context of integrated regional plans that prioritize affordable and clean transportation
          In 2015, the BC Provincial government released its 10-year transportation plan entitled “BC On The Move”.
          The plan heavily emphasizes roads and bridges. This plan needs to be reviewed from the perspective of increasing the availability of affordable, clean transportation. ”

          But what will matter is what the two leaders agree on jointly, IMO. I suspect we will know soon.

      2. If they placed the ped / bike / emergency services tube in the centre, then both traffic (or one traffic and one transit) passageways would have access to emergency exits. This is not unlike the English Channel Tunnel.
        I like the idea of elevators to the surface from the active mobility tube at both ends. I would assume the tunnel will also utilize modern crime prevention standards like lots of lighting, light coloured walls, cameras monitored 24 / 7 everywhere, emergency phones and so forth. Some public art wouldn’t be amiss, perhaps a cool BC Binning-like tile mosaic for the whole length.

  7. Don’t be misled by the Port…
    Media Release from Port Metro Vancouver, September 28, 2012:
    “Port Metro Vancouver has been encouraging the BC Government to take action to address the long standing concern that the GMT presents a barrier to continued growth in the Fraser River terminals, in particular to Fraser Surrey Docks. The single biggest challenge that the GMT represents to ocean going vessels is related to ship ‘draft’, the depth of water required in order for those vessels to transit the Fraser River.”
    GMT: George Massey Tunnel
    The history of the Port’s chameleon behaviour is well documented. The coal terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks should be ample proof of their ability to switch the fundamentals of a project after receiving approval, but since they are the same body that approves their own projects it’s not surprising. Check out this 2015 story if you have any doubts about the Port misleading the public.

  8. The question asked is “Why is the Port suddenly discovering they do not need to remove Massey Tunnel?”
    Richmond made an FOI request in March. The questions were so hot that a month later the Government invoked a little know clause in the FOI legislation to withhold information for 60 days, until the day before the election.
    In Richmond we have known that it was nothing but mud for 1,000 feet to bedrock since early wells were drilled in an attempt to find natural gas in 1932. The FOI report confirmed, nothing but mud for 1,000 feet to a layer of glacial till and bedrock.
    The FOI gave absolutely no information requested on the cost of piles or the stability the recommended “floating” piles designed to hold up such a top heavy bridge.
    We could never get a straight answer on LRT. Every time we asked we were told the bridge was built for “public transit”. So we asked in the FOI. The very last report the city received revealed exactly what we expected , LRT is not recommended and the bridge is not designed for LRT.
    So why the sudden announcement after the election by the Port?
    We have known everything the port suddenly discovered about dredging for decades. A deluge of studies were done after the first grandiose plan to industrialize the Fraser was announced in 1968. As a result the Fraser River Port Authority chose short sea shipping instead of deep sea shipping. The deep sea ships would berth at Roberts Banks. However, Robin Silvester and the corporations put in charge of the new Vancouver Port Authority knew better. They demanded a bridge.
    If the costs of putting piles under a top heavy bridge are so horrendous they can’t even be FOI’d, what better way of saving face than suddenly discovering we don’t need the bridge in the first place?

    1. How is the mud different than at the Alex Fraser bridge only a few km further east ? Was a tunnel ever considered there ?

      1. Bridges can be built on glacial till as well as bedrock. Consider the Gulf of Georgia as an underwater valley. The valley is rimmed with heavy gravel soils left behind from the ice age, from Tsawwassen to Surrey. The “glacial till” slopes from those deposits out into the valley bottom. Richmond and Delta are “alluvial soils” that have been eroded from the BC Interior and deposited along the side of the valley. The till is near the surface to the east and at the depth of the Gulf of Georgia to the west. At Massey Tunnel it is over 1,000 feet down.
        Building 1,000 ft piles would be too costly so “floating” piles are being considered. This constitutes driving a large cluster of piles in one location, “hardening” the mud between the piles, and building a bridge pier on a platform on top of the piles. Richmond asked for a cost estimate in the FOI but no records of a cost analysis were produced. As a result one can assume the cost is so high it had to be kept secret.
        Richmond uses a similar pile system for tall buildings called Franki piles A large platform on top of the piles prevents the building from falling over in an earthquake. The building may swing and sway and end up leaning over to one side but won’t fall down. Is that what we want for a bridge? We didn’t get an answer on bridge stability.
        Ironically the process for hardening the mud around the clusters of piles is exactly what was proposed to stabilize the tunnel before Port Vancouver demanded the tunnel be removed.

        1. That was only one part of the fix for the existing tunnel. It also needs to be held down to combat the natural buoyancy of the structure. It needs restraint in both directions.
          Bridges only need to be held upright.
          If it starts to float upwards, then the seals between the tunnel sections could leak, flooding out the tunnel.

        2. Ditto for me. But we should consider the mere fact that our spouses married us as some form of validation, no?