On his Metro Vancouver transportation blog, Stephen Rees has a letter from guest editor Doug Massey in response to Minister of Transportation Todd Stone’s letter printed in the Delta Optimist on January 20th.
Doug Massey’s letter is worth reading in its entirety as he not only rebuts much of Minister Stone’s premise, he is also describing some very simple steps that could increase capacity in the tunnel if Delta Port implemented them,  such as working 24 hours a day 7 days a week like other major ports.
Price Tags has abbreviated Doug Massey’s letter  to Minister Todd Stone below:

…”If the statistics from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are correct that in 2015, the Annual Average Daily Traffic was 80,666. which would equal some 3, 361 vehicle per hour, well below the tunnel’s capacity of 7,000 cars per hour, why then is there a problem at rush hour? Could it be that Delta Port is the only major port in North America that does not operate 24/7?  The fact that one container  or large transport truck could displace up to 1.5 to 4 cars and subject to the fact that heavy trucks take up more space and are slow to accelerate could result in taking up the space of up to several more cars, perhaps up to 10 cars on the road,as  at least 13 % of the vehicles using the tunnel during rush hour are large heavy duty trucks.”

“One has to ask why then has the B.C. Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure not even considered a modern day policy of banning all heavy duty large trucks during rush hour, and requiring all receiving and delivery points of cargo to be open 24/7 as is required in most cities around the world?”

Doug Massey notes that “… they are removing the tunnel so that the Fraser River could be dredged deeper to accommodate deeper ships, and that the province was not part of that project, could not be further from the truth. One part is true that they would not be doing the dredging because that is the responsibility of the federal agency, Port Metro Vancouver…building a bridge and removing the tunnel would be their preference  and at the urging of industrial interests of the Pacific Gateway Strategy Plan on the Fraser River they chose the bridge.”

“A representative from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was present at meeting of the Pacific Gateway Strategy Plan on April 2006 and on Feb. 2. 2012, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure of the B.C. government met to discuss the constraints to increasing the Fraser River channel depth because of the existence of the George Massey Tunnel and recommended the removal of the George Massey Tunnel to achieve their goals.”

“So you see Mr. Minister and the public it was not a fallacy but a conspiracy.””



  1. I can’t grasp the rationale behind this line of opposition. Can someone please clarify? Is the intent to prove the Minister is massaging the truth with respect to one specific element of the bridge’s justification – dredging for larger ships? To catch the province lying with its pants down on this one single thread of the bridge’s ‘business case’? Is this the rhetorical wedge that Mr. Massey hopes will derail the government’s plan?

  2. I still feel publishing what the son of the guy who built the bridge in the first place thinks undermines the legitimate and real concerns regarding this colossal waste of money and resources.
    Frankly, who cares what he thinks anymore than any other citizen? It just becomes a point to attack for the bridge supporters instead of discussing the actual issues.

  3. Similar to Dan Ross, I’m confused by this one…
    Minister Stone has regurgitated his talking point about the tunnel being an important connection to facilitate goods movement as part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway. Doug Massey than suggests peak period trucking bans and 24/7 port access as a mitigation.
    Missing from the entire discussion is any discussion of data.
    Trucks account for ~4-5% of AM and PM peak period, peak direction traffic, so not a particularly large contributor to congested volumes. Approx half of trucks during those peak periods are light trucks, not heavy vehicles, which are harder to displace (they often support daytime service activities). The vast majority of heavy trucks already travel midday to avoid the congestion. And total traffic originating from (and destined to) Deltaport is 2% of tunnel volume.
    My takeaways:
    1. Massey Tunnel isn’t that essential to the movement of goods for the Asia-Pacific Gateway. Most of that is being loaded onto trains at Deltaport immediately, or being drayed to/from the intermodal yards or facilities along the SFPR. Not much substance to the Minister’s talking point.
    2. The mitigations that Doug highlights are already being done, or are likely to provide little impact.
    Nice little trip down the rabbit hole, probably more effective to refocus the criticism on bigger picture problems/concerns.

  4. … Deltaport is 2% of tunnel volume.
    Holy belching smokestack, Batman! Two percent!
    If they need a 10-lane bridge deck for two per cent, and they absolutely justify that on expanding commercial truck traffic, then it follows that a 20-lane bridge will be required for an increase to 4%. Beyond that? There just isn’t enough land.
    The whole this is absurd.

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