November 2, 2017

Province Announces Massey Bridge Reviewer

It was one of the most prudent decisions of the new Provincial government.  Instead of implicitly accepting the proposed ten lane bridge and decommissioning the Massey Tunnel, the new government declared they wanted to know why an overbuilt bridge on the floodplain with the most arable farm land in Canada was the preferred option. They also wanted to figure out why every member of the Mayors’ Council nixed this concept except for Delta, who stood to gain mass 20th century industrialization of the Fraser River if  the bridge went ahead.
As reported by the CBC an engineer with experience consulting on public infrastructure projects is the contracted person leading the technical review of the multi billion dollar proposed bridge. Stan Cowdell, the president of Westmar Project Advisors Inc., is expected to report back in the Spring of 2018 with his findings. Mr Cowdell was also involved in the W.R. Bennett floating bridge in Kelowna which was a private sector partnership to design, build, finance and operate the bridge.
Earlier  Claire Trevena the Transportation Minister  stated that this review would examine whether the ten lane bridge, a smaller crossing, or  different tunnel configurations would be the best option. The review will look at the existing tunnel’s  lifespan, congestion and safety concerns. All the previously produced information will be reviewed and the need for more technical work may be identified in the course of the work.
The independent technical review is expected to culminate in a report by Spring 2018.

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      1. About 10 km of a new Bus Rapid Transit lane was funded down this corridor. The work was started by the previous Liberal government. Pre-stressing and drainage work had been underway for months but the NDP has shut all that down.
        It’s now just piles of sand and a temporary fence from Westminster Highway south to where Highway 99 intersects with Highway 91.

        1. Er, no. The surveying and night-work and the continuation down the 99 all stopped when the NDP shut it down. Cranes, lights for night work and the extensive work station with huts that had been set up just south of the tunnel on Deas Island, has all been removed. The contractors have been paid off.
          “the Ministry will cancel existing groundwork being conducted on Highway 99, which has already tallied $66 million. ”
          Rieghardt van Enter, Regional Director, BC, for the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada, expressed “disappointment” that the project was cancelled.
          “Most companies in the procurement process have been on his for several years,” he said, noting upwards of 2,000 jobs are delayed now.
          Trevena said two final bidding contractors will be paid up to $2 million to help offset their expenses to date.”

        2. Sounds prudent if we don’t know what is to happen there. If rapid bus lanes really were the reason for the pre-load then no harm done in the delay. In the boggy soil of Richmond pre-loads often sit for years.
          Any wasted spending can be blamed on a former government that liked to rush into things without sufficient due diligence.

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  2. Deriving options is a very basic part of the design process, especially involving large amounts of public money. Launching directly into an Atlanta freeway design with no professionally detached exploration of alternatives is just not good management or best practices. Or acceptable politics for that matter.
    I would have preferred to see an RFP issued to review the bridge concept and several proposals to retain engineering consulting services received for evaluation. A big slap on the wrist to this government in a hurry for that. However, at least a proper review of this monster will be conducted and alternatives duly explored.

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