Sandor Gyarmati in the Delta Optimist reports that the Premier knows what is good for you and the Massey Bridge will “make a huge difference in the lives of those who live south of the Fraser”.  Now that is kind of strange thing to say when you are defending the expenditure of $3.5 billion dollars (projected to go over budget according to many sources).
There are other alternatives that would have made a huge difference in the lives of everyone north and south of the Fraser River, including placing this bridge in an area to the east that is not impacting the most arable farmland in Canada. They could have seriously looking at other alternatives to the bridge such as twinning the tunnel, and simply doing some things that are done globally in other “congestion” situations, such as limiting truck traffic during peak times, or getting the port to operate on a 24 hour basis, like every other port in North America. Under the thin veil of talking about “jobs” and “congestion” it is assumed that citizens are not smartly analyzing the lack of public process and the wrong-headed direction which right from the start has nixed the tunnel. And no one is saying the real reason for the tunnel being taken out, which is for the Port (a federal not provincial agency) to dredge and industrialize the Fraser River for deeper, bigger boats carrying coal and liquid natural gas to Asia. It is all a very 20th century approach. A $3.5 billion dollar 20th century approach.

But never mind that, here is the Premier’s response last week in Delta. “I would argue, even more importantly, you can cross the river on the bridge and know you’re doing it safely with your kids in the car. It (current tunnel) so desperately needs seismic upgrading, I worry about people using that tunnel now. I think that will be a big improvement for people in South Delta”. 
This is all a little weird as the previous Minister of Transportation stated that the tunnel was good for decades. But now it is the “s” words, safety, seismic, to go with “jobs” and “congestion” and spending $3.5 billion dollars for a bridge determined by the Mayors’ Council to be in the wrong place. But back to the Premier. “I promised that we would do this four years ago before the last election. We have spent four years with the scientists and geotechnical people and consulting with the community, and four years later we’re getting on with it..When I promise to do something, we get it done.” 
You can take a look at the document list and the skinny public process here. This is one of those projects where the end, a bridge, was kind of foregone conclusion. There’s been a couple of meetings here and there, but no active dialogue or response. And in terms of addressing the fact that all the Metro Vancouver mayors except for the Mayor of Delta did not want a bridge located here? Nothing.

But on to the “benefits”.  The Premier states you  will have “reduced congestion” (which could be solved by more transit and eliminating trucks at peak periods in the current tunnel). You will have “improved safety” (of course you also have ten lanes of traffic). And my favourite-there will “13,000 fewer tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions”, because instead of idling at peak times all those vehicles will be proceeding at speed. There’s no factor for the increased emission resulting from the induced vehicle demand a new bridge will bring. And strangely, no comparison to the Port Mann bridge, or whether this is really worth $3.5 billion dollars.
Sometimes when you promise to do something, you have to make sure it is the right work, not just doing the work right.


  1. The elimination of the belching pollution from stationery traffic that we had to endure daily before the Port Mann Bridge is about to be repeated with the new Massey Bridge. From an environmental point of view the Liberals have to be congratulated and thanked for their successful work in improving our environment. *deleted as per editorial policy*
    The story of considering the environment is also a good one when considering the grants made available *deleted as per editorial policy * for those of us that have chosen to change old vehicles for newer electric and hybrid and less polluting ones.
    We must give credit where it is due.

    1. Indeed, let’s give credit where it’s due — for willful ignorance, unheard of levels of propaganda from a provincial government, and opportunistic hubris.

    2. Indeed, let’s give credit where it is due — for willful ignorance, for unheard of levels of propaganda from a provincial government, for bringing Doublespeak to a professional level, for opportunistic hubris, for building record levels of debt as part of a ‘fiscally responsible’ policy, and for passing a smiley face off as sound governance.
      All of that and more are inherent in this project.

    3. Hey Eric (if that is even your real name). This Trumpian misinformation about wider highways leading to less climate pollution has no place in my BC. You can’t build your way out of congestion, and wider bridges lead to higher traffic volumes and increased climate pollution. This crude ‘alternative fact’ is one of the reasons I’m working to change the government of BC to one that has some respect for evidence and reason. http://www.straight.com/news/832461/eric-doherty-its-time-challenge-post-truth-climate-politics-bc

      1. Less idling cars = less pollution.
        Deleted as per editorial policy.
        MetroVan has 30+ harbors, all wishing to expand somehow. A higher bridge will allow that AND less idling AND more development south of the Fraser AND affordable housing. Many positive aspects of a new bridge (or deeper & wider tunnel) !!
        And yes, we need more transit too. It is not an either-or proposition ! Think “AND” !!

    4. Eric – So there may be fewer belching motor vehicles at Port Mann, but what about all the belching motor vehicles now backed up into Burnaby? What about all the belching mvs stuck on the IWMB as a result of a wider Port Mann? Is there any evidence that trip times have decreased due to the wider bridge? You simply can’t build your way out of congestion.

  2. It’s rich that Clark resorts to fear-mongering in her comments that “the tunnel so desperately needs seismic up-grading. I worry about people using that tunnel now”. It was her government that inexplicably halted the seismic up-grade of the tunnel in 2007.

  3. Less idling does not necessarily equal less pollution, but yes you can cover more distance with less fuel at speeds higher than idle, until natural inefficiencies catch up (mechanical friction, air resistance, etc.) and you start polluting more per unit distance. Fuel use per km is a U-curve as speed goes up. Can we all agree on this fact?
    At the same time, more roads does not always equal more traffic. And more traffic does not always equal more pollution. Yes, if there is latent demand you will incur more traffic but only if there is latent demand (and I would suggest it varies by location and time). However, as technology advances we will finally stop combusting and use more cleaner forms of fuel. Also we will be at a point where congesting is not a perceived issue and so whether we have more or less roads, or spend more or less time travelling, will not be as significant as it is today.
    I would suggest both sides of the argument concede both sides have a point, and as always: it depends. Last time I checked the world is not black and white.
    Having said that, as much as I’d like to be be balanced in my views, I cannot see how such a large bridge built on questionable soil requiring so much height leading into one of the most dense networks of signalized roads, can be a good thing. OK, I won’t judge if it’s good or bad, as it may have it’s place in terms of value. However what I cannot rationalize is then how this is a higher priority relative to so many other needs our society has that have not been attended to, whether they be in transportation or other public areas such as education and health. +$3.5 billion can do so much these days.
    If we want to keep things simple and much more cost-effective, then there is a solution that can solve congestion not only at this water-challenged part of Hwy 99 but all through into downtown and all other destinations using the tunnel. And it would cost only a fraction of the +$3.5 billion. It is called transit and carpooling (surprize!). Transit and carpooling is not always the solution for every location, but in this case the numbers show evidence of possible latent demand for these modes. And eventually if needed, more tubes can be added, but we may not need them if we can max out existing infrastructure with more cost effective “first-principle” solutions.

    1. It is THE major N-S provincial and federal highway. Like Port Mann bridge is THE major E-W provincial and federal highway. Both have loads of traffic, ever growing due to a growing local population as well as more exports & imports. It makes sense to open up the Fraser river for more residential and industrial expansion. Only a higher bridge, or a deeper tunnel, can do that, with min 8 lanes.

      1. I’m not suggesting there isn’t a problem but that there are many more solutions that I feel are more cost-effective. I do not recall the criteria in the design about the need for increased depth capacity of the Fraser. You obviously need to go high in order to cross the river, but this also leads into connection problems at the north end. It seems the main rationale is one of seismic and safety. We can build seismically sound tunnels that float and do not sink when soils liquefy during quakes. And one could argue buses are more safe to transport the families Premier Clark speaks of.
        This is such an important decision that a more thorough assessment of solutions is needed, in my opinion. I am agnostic to the solution and every solution we can feasibly assess should be made, including a 10 and maybe even a 12 lane bridge. What is important is proper due process to ensure the best SROI (social return on investment, which is essentially a triple-bottom line approach).
        At any rate, with technological improvements and increasing impact of the shared economy, we have to be careful not to over-build as this leads to not only excessive capital requirements, but also excessive operational and maintenance requirements. The last thing we need is to build “stranded assets” in times where funds are limited (is there ever a time we don’t have enough funds..?)
        And in terms of commercial truck traffic currently through the tunnel, peak truck volumes occur during off-peak periods (i.e. mid-day). So truck use in the tunnel is not as significant an issue.

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