It’s a new day but not in Delta where the City Manager and the Mayor continued their advocacy for a very big bridge last night at Delta Council. A large reader board went up at the Massey Tunnel urging everyone to Build a Bridge Now, with a website address that just goes straight to Delta Municipal Hall.
Meanwhile as Jennifer Saltman reports in the Vancouver Sun some cooler heads are thinking it through across the Fraser River in the City of Richmond. There the Director of Transportation has written a pretty comprehensive report asking for a complete review of the proposed Massey crossing options, noting the misinformation, and asking Richmond to stop all work towards a bridge crossing. The report was adopted by eight of the nine council members.
The frustration of the City of Richmond with the Province’s one sided process was evident in the comments made by the Mayor . “We have been trying to constructively comment on this proposal from the first day it was announced. We have been disregarded and ignored in the questions that we have asked” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie.
A ten lane bridge supportive of trucking traffic and Delta Port would lead to more industrialization along the Fraser, as well as creating traffic bottlenecks on either side of the bridge. The Richmond report examined two tunnel alternatives, one “improving the existing four-lane Massey Tunnel and adding a second two- or four-lane tunnel that accommodates high-occupancy vehicles and transit.”
The report also addresses the fear mongering that the Corporation of Delta has promoted in saying that the tunnel will collapse in a magnitude 6.5 earthquake. “Richmond points out that the tunnel can be upgraded to sustain a one-in-475-year earthquake, which is on par with other major structures such as the Lions Gate, Ironworkers Memorial, Oak Street and Queensborough bridges. It’s estimated that the work will cost $590 million.” While Delta stats that a ten lane bridge is cheaper than the tunnel, Richmond noted that a crossing with less lanes could be built for the same cost, and surprise, a small project “would also mitigate concerns about environmental or land impacts”.
And Delta’s stats about tunnel safety? ICBC notes that there were 270 collisions annually in the tunnel-compare that with ” the Knight Street Bridge and interchanges had an average of 420 crashes per year, and the Alex Fraser had almost 290 crashes per year.” As the Mayor of Richmond noted “Whatever the solution is at the end of the day, as long as it moves along, is expedited and it cleans up the mess that is that horror show of the Massey Tunnel, I’m in full support of it”.