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The lack of Provincial response to the concerns of adjacent municipalities and mayors to the impending Massey Bridge mega-billion dollar construction project is truly the sound of one hand clapping. The Province is sure that the bridge is good for the Port and its own concepts of  twentieth century commercial trucking and traffic, and nothing is swaying their determination to foist this behemoth upon us.
The Richmond News  and Graeme Wood reports that the Mayor of Richmond, Malcolm Brodie was “disappointed yet unsurprised that the provincial government issued environmental approval for the 10-lane, $3.5 billion bridge. The concerns raised by Richmond about this project have continually been ignored throughout the public consultation and environmental assessment processes.”  The Federal Government, who could have also done a Federal review, has refused to do so, saying it is outside their mandate. However, as Councillor Harold Steeves notes, a similar Federal review was done for the Port Mann Bridge. So why the change?

And why does the Massey Tunnel need to be removed? Could this not be used for mass transit or a bicycle link? But no, “according to Geoff Freer, executive project director of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, the four-lane tunnel cannot be left beneath the river because it poses a risk to dyke stability during an earthquake. However, the City of Richmond is not aware of any special risks to the dykes associated with the tunnel.”

Of course if the tunnel is removed it allows for bigger ships to  go up and down the Fraser River’s south arm, increasing industrialization of farmland. And here is the weird part-“The provincial environmental assessment certificate issued Thursday calls for the tunnel to be filled in beneath the dyke and the four connecting tubes to be dug up from below the river bed.”

There is a Metro Vancouver water line that is pesky and in the way. That will need to be moved to allow for deeper dredging for big ships. What’s interesting is the certificate does not  “assess the implications of such dredging, as tunnel decommissioning would not directly change the size of vessels using the river; the certificate only addresses the footprint of the bridge.”

If you are not already confused, Mayor Brodie has stated that since the bridge’s towers are on land (Provincial jurisdiction) and do not directly impact the river, the federal government will not be involved. Never mind the fact that the removal of the tunnels will cause massive river bed disturbance. And Minister of Transportation Todd Stone is calling the ten lane Massey Bridge a “green bridge” now because it is reducing idling. 

The bridge is counter to a regional transportation plan supported by all the region’s mayors except for Delta’s mayor who supports the bridge in her jurisdiction. Mayor Brodie is supportive of a cheaper tunnel alternative, and also brings up the fact this bridge complicates regional road pricing. You can be sure this bridge will be tolled. The tolling fee is not announced, but will be higher than the Port Mann bridge because “The bridge’s initial cost is higher than the Port Mann Bridge and traffic projections show it will see less traffic.”

You just can’t make this stuff up.

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Comments

  1. *Deleted as per Editorial Policy*
    rest of us will finally be able to get around without wasting so much of our lives sitting in the needless traffic that folks like you create because of your selfish interests? It costs us a lot of time and money to sit in traffic. I fully support Mayor Lois Jackson and I hope she is victorious over the *deleted as per editorial policy * congestion-inducing crowd you seem to support. *Deleted as per editorial policy* Why don’t you want the rest of us to be able to get around? And as for the lack of consultation between the provincial government and local mayors… they are so negative that they would always oppose any sort of real improvement. This tunnel has been a problem for decades and what have they proposed as a solution? Exactly – nothing! And the local mayors don’t care what the public thinks either. We voted down that transit tax by a two-to-one margin in 2015 but they got their way anyway when Trudeau gave over $2 billion to add a few sea buses and a subway line near the mayors house. These two things will never, never relieve any congestion on the Lower Mainland. What a total waste of my hard-earned tax dollars! Here’s another interesting thing… on the proposed replacement of the Pattulo Bridge, Surrey wanted a six lane crossing, New West wanted a four lane crossing (yeah – it makes a lot of sense to spend a billion dollars to replace one four lane crossing with another four lane crossing) and Burnaby didn’t want any crossing at all. And these are the guys we should be consulting with?

    1. Vancouverites voted no by only a couple of percentage points, not by two-to-one. Unfortunately, the slight majority couldn’t see through the plebiscite ploy to engage the public’s anger about everything under the sun EXCEPT transit. Now Massey is called the Green Bridge. I’ve never seen so much propaganda since W let bin Laden escape and then invaded Iraq.
      Regarding alleviated congestion by increasing road space. One more time …. it doesn’t work beyond a temporarily period of grace. Then it will be proportionately worse, especially when it hits the Oak Bridge and the lights at 70th. And a 21 lane interchange? That’s patently absurd.
      There are better ways.
      https://www.wired.com/images_blogs/photos/uncategorized/2008/09/16/regina.jpg

      1. BTW, the train pictured above is the Bombardier Regina series developed for Sweden under their Grona Taget program. A four-car train can seat almost 400 people and take 300 cars off the road (assuming 1.25 passengers per vehicle, or 75% of all traffic with single-occupants). Even a three-car train has the capacity to take 200+ cars off the road and truly alleviate congestion, leaving more room for contractors and other commercial vehicles — who really should get a discount on the tolls.

    2. Anonymous. I have no problem with you getting around but i don’t want to pay for it. How about a Delta referendum to increase property taxes to pay for the proposed bridge.

      1. Great idea! I suggest the tax be higher than 0.5% to recover at least 50% of the operating costs of the freeway, at least equal with the cost recovery of transit fareboxes.

  2. The federal environmental review of the Port Mann was pretty damning about the effects of increased pollution and the justifications for the project, namely based on accommodating commercial traffic.

  3. With the tolls this thing is going to require, the vehicle count shown in the Ministry’s own rendering looks about right. Maybe this bridge is the Liberals’ version of a Travel Demand Initiative.

  4. When the new Port Mann Bridge was under construction, I asked a few times why the old PMB could not be modified and used for transit, cycling and pedestrians, instead of being torn down. The answer given was that tearing it down was part of the “environmental restoration plan”. That’s bogus.

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