July 5, 2017

Revisiting Massey Bridge Issues A Year Later

Work continues at the  Massey Tunnel where millions of dollars of preload and preconstruction work is progressing  for the Massey Bridge, built on the banks of the sensitive Fraser River on the most arable farmland in Canada. The bridge price is projected to balloon from 3.5 billion dollars to over 12 billion dollars with  carrying financial costs as noted in documents leaked just before the Provincial election. Lately Price Tags has reported that the rookie MLA from Delta is now saying that a tunnel can’t be twinned because of the impacts of disturbing the river bed. This seems to be an odd comment when the Port of Vancouver is annually dredging tonnes of sand and silt from the riverbed to allow for the navigation of ships upriver.
It is interesting to take a look back to an article written in the North Delta Reporter by Jeff Nagel exactly one year ago. At that time Metro Vancouver said it could not support a ten lane bridge at this location and released “ an assessment critical of the project, arguing the proposed bridge will have a dramatic impact on regional growth, steer more people into cars instead of public transit, and ultimately increase not decrease congestion.”
Not only that, but the utilities committee chair of Metro Vancouver Darrell Mussatto stated that the regional government “will be forced to spend $20 million to $340 million replacing or modifying water and other utility lines under the river because of the project, and the bill for Metro could rise to as much as $1 billion if the port authority seeks to dredge the Fraser River for increased shipping and underwater utilities must be dug deeper.”
You just can’t build your way out of congestion and  the ecological disturbance to the Fraser estuary, the air quality impacts of  ten lanes of idling cars, and the impact on Deas Island Regional Park were cited. A year ago Metro Vancouver noted that the new Port Mann Bridge DOES speed vehicles further on Highway 1, but stacks vehicles into congestion at the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge to the North Shore. Such a “pinch point” could also happen at the Oak Street Bridge and the Knight Street Bridge from a new Massey Bridge.
Meanwhile the Province has claimed that the existing tunnel is nearing the end of its life, despite the fact that similar tunnel designs are used in Europe, are the same vintage, and still have decades of use ahead. And the Mayor of Delta insisted that water lines had nothing to do with the project, and reassured us that ten lanes were needed as well as the proposed High Occupancy Vehicle/Bus Lane. Currently buses make up just one per cent of trips through the tunnel, but carry 24 per cent of the people going through it.
This was the discussion a year ago-how can a year go by without Provincial support for a  solid regional transportation plan with  enhanced transit service to encourage regional accessibility? How did we ever get to this place thinking that in the 21st century the car was still king? How do we convince the Province of the importance of working with the region on a comprehensive complete relook at how to move people efficiently and sustainably?
Hard to believe a year has passed.

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  1. Great to read your article. I think they are hoping to create congestion so that more people use the bus in the fast bus lane. With IOT they can sequence the buses and with the lights.

  2. We’ll see where the 10-lane bridge proposal stands once the new government has a chance to review it. It may be the bridge to no where. What’s required for this corridor in addition to a tunnel with lights is one more 2-lane tunnel, increased public transit, even rapid transit, and no truck travel during peak periods.

    1. Bridge to nowhere ? How about to: Vancouver Island main ferry temial, USA, fastest growing part of MetroVan, namely Surrey, Delta and Tsawwassen and connecting to SFPR and likely new expanding Boundary Bay airport & area.

      1. Yes. Boundary Bay Airport is expanding and one section is the massive warehouses that needed the recent new exit and bridge off the freeway at 80th Street.
        Vancouver is losing much of its industrial land and traffic is increasing through the tunnel to the Boundary Bay industrial park, as well as to the recently enlarged and busy Tilbury Parks off River Road just south of the tunnel and also to the constantly expanding and completely new industrial parks in Campbell Heights, just down the 99 in Surrey.
        These parks serve the city with supplies and they are further out than they ever have been because the city needs its land for residences. The Finning Lands are now the Flatz (!), or Flats until the ‘new’ branding. Other industrial land is being lost around Terminal too.

        1. The False Creek Flats plan calls for retention of industrial lands, prioritizing that over calls for more housing there. Seems the right idea to keep the industrial base. The only housing is along the peripheral in the south west corner, and it is mixed use to match what is there now.

        2. Even Metro Vancouver is alarmed by the loss of this land to the outlying regions. The clearest example was the sale of the Molson Brewery at Burrard and 1si Avenue to Concord Pacific, for condos, of course.
          Molson goes to Chiliwack so now the beer and for Metro Vancouver has to be trucked down the highways and over the bridges and through the tunnels.
          Metro Vancouver 2016.
          “The Metro Vancouver report says the region lost about 350 hectares of industrial land from 2010 to 2015 after it was rezoned by cities, largely for residential use.
          deleted as per editorial policy

        3. “Molson goes to Chiliwack so now the beer and for Metro Vancouver has to be trucked down the highways and over the bridges and through the tunnels.”
          Other way around Eric. Molson is for hillbillies living in the valley. Vancouverites drink craft beer brewed in the city. 🙂 Why bring all those beer ingredients across all those bridges, produce it in Vancouver and then ship the finished product and waste back to Langley? Makes no sense.
          For many products it reduces traffic to manufacture/produce goods closer to the raw materials and ship only the finished product into the city.

        4. Johnny/Eric posted:
          “Even Metro Vancouver is alarmed by the loss of this land to the outlying regions. The clearest example was the sale of the Molson Brewery at Burrard and 1st Avenue to Concord Pacific, for condos, of course…..
          “The Metro Vancouver report says the region lost about 350 hectares of industrial land from 2010 to 2015 after it was rezoned by cities, largely for residential use.””
          First, you cite a report that clearly shows your point to be wrong. The 352 ha lost from industrial zoned inventory is in Metro, not Vancouver. The report shows no significant removals from industrial zoning in the City of Vancouver. The most significantly zoning changes are in fact in Surrey and Maple Ridge, your ‘outlying areas.’ It is a rookie mistake to mix up Vancouver City and Metro Vancouver.
          Secondly, the most significant reductions in industrial zoning were to vacant lands. It is unclear how those vacant lands contributed to trucking volumes. Do you see a lot of deliveries and pickups to vacant properties in your travels?

    2. I like what Jeffrey said. Another 2-lane tunnel would permit 3 lanes in both directions at all times. As a frequent ferry user and victim of this fierce bottleneck,I think that should suffice for decades to come without promoting sprawl, allow reasonable goods and transit movement and, not unimportantly, vastly improve the psychic well-being of those who must use this route. Shouldn’t cost nearly as much, either.

        1. The same reason we were required to have a referendum on transit, marched stubbornly forward on a mega-dam without independent oversight, built sprawl-inducing mega- bridges east of town, sold our railway in a corrupt deal that became even more corrupted in our courts, sold off rights to rivers for a song while buying back the power for a fortune…
          Weren’t you paying attention?

    3. A floating swing bridge for SOV s during rush hours would be a fraction of both the dollar & environmental cost.Not much more than a barge & tug boat

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