It’s taken awhile, but new voices are emerging South of the Fraser to critique the justification and take action on the proposed 10-lane Massey Bridge – the ‘Massive Massey.’  
Stephen Rees reports on a new group: Fraser Voices.

That is the name that a small group, unified its opposition to megabridge Massey Tunnel replacement project chose for itself …
There are two contributions from that group:  The first is the GMTRP brief draft prepared by Nicholas Wong – a substantial document that may get some updating and, if it does, will get replaced by later versions over time.

For now here is the first paragraph of the Executive Summary, which should convince you it is worth your time to read the whole thing: the brief deals only with the traffic, seismic, and pricing concerns and thus leaves a whole raft of issues unexamined

The GMTRP has been plagued by contradictory or absent information. In such an environment, it is impossible to form an educated opinion of the project. To explore the systematic nature of the political deception surrounding the bridge proposal, three broad areas were explored: traffic, seismic safety standards, and budgetary concerns.

The conclusion being that removing the GMT is unnecessary and a poor economic choice to alleviate traffic congestion or to address any of the stated project goals. The only advantage to removing the GMT is to allow larger ships up the Fraser River indicating that the tolled crossing is designed as a subsidy for the export industry.


The second is the text of a report which was adopted by the Richmond Council General Purposes Committee last Monday and will go to Richmond Council for final vote this coming Monday. …

The Province spent $22.2 million on a seismic upgrade on the Massey Tunnel in 2004, announced the tunnel would be twinned in 2006, and announced rapid  bus in 2008. Studies were done that justified twinning the tunnel and improving public transit. It was noted that the carrying capacity of the Oak Street Bridge and other bridges was limited and therefore the tunnel should only be six lanes. Rapid Bus would reduce traffic and reduce GHG’s. Richmond Council was opposed to both a No. 8 Road Bridge to Delta and a bridge to Boundary Road in Burnaby because it would do irreparable damage to Richmond East farmland. The Rapid Bus system resolved that problem.
new-bridgeWhat caused the province to suddenly change from a tunnel with public transit to a bridge without it?
The FOI information from Doug Massey shows a concerted effort was made in 2012 by Fraser Surrey Docks and Port Metro Vancouver and others to have the tunnel removed to accommodate deep draft Panamex supertankers. The BC Government met with them to discuss tunnel removal on Feb 2, 2012, future terminals at VAFFC, Lehigh and a new one in Richmond, including liquid bulk tankers (e.g. LNG); and the need to dredge the river to 15.5 metres on Dec. 4, 2012.  Secondly the more conservative members in the Liberal Caucus appear to have gained control in the 2013 election.
On Nov 5, 2015 Todd Stone admitted that they did not yet have a business case for a bridge, Now the reason is clear. It appears that the  province changed their plans to permit the industrialization of the Fraser River by Port Metro Vancouver. They did not have a business plan for a bridge because the business case was for twinning the tunnel and providing Rapid Bus. …

That the City of Richmond request that the Provincial Government provide copies of all reports and studies – including but not limited to business plans, feasibility studies, technical studies, seismic studies, and/or environmental impact studies – that relate to the original plan to twin the George Massey Tunnel and/or provide Rapid Bus service that were considered during the period from 2006 to 2008; and that if necessary, that the foregoing request be made as an official Freedom of Information request.

The report attracted no attention at all from the Richmond News, but a great deal of media attention is being paid to the Metro Vancouver decision to ask for more time to consider the proposal.


  1. Maybe Justin will give us equal treatment.
    “The new Champlain Bridge will not have tolls, just as promised by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the election campaign, Quebec Transport Minister Robert Poëti confirmed Wednesday morning.
    The original announcement was made last week, but Poëti addressed the bridge in Quebec City Wednesday. While there won’t be tolls, compensation will have to be paid to the consortium — led by SNC-Lavalin — building the bridge to alter the contract.
    The $4.2-billion construction project is already underway and the new Champlain is expected to open to traffic in 2019.”
    Feb.2.2016 – CBC – “The construction of the new Champlain Bridge progressed one more notch this morning.
    Crews did a second pouring of concrete on the 38 footings that will form the base of the bridge underwater.
    The first pouring was done in mid-December.
    In the spring, the footings — which measure 11 metres wide, 11 metres long, and 2 metres deep — will be placed at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River. …the $4-billion project is on track to be ready for December 2018.”

    1. No toll on a new major bridge is outrageous and shows how out of touch our politicians are with fiscal and environmental reality.
      What is the federal and Quebec annual deficit and accumulated debt ?
      But hey, a free bridge. That is fiscally responsible ? That is “green” ? That is in tune with the hot air spewed in Paris at the climate conference ?
      How about: free for e-cars and e-trucks ? Now that would be real innovative and green and in tune with their lofty words. Related: Donald Trump leading in the polls, as politicians have fallen to such new lows.

  2. I agree that tolls should be imposed, and the lack of them is a political, not economic, decision. I also note that no one is addressing long-term operating costs, not to mention externalities like emissions.
    That’s where the comparison to the Champlain Bridge ends.
    – Champlain currently moves 156,500 vehicles a day including 12,000 trucks, which is 40% of all the traffic that was moved through the Massey tunnel and over the Alex Fraser, Puttullo and Port Mann in 2009, or twice as much as the tunnel today. The only other major bridge across the St Lawrence to the South Shore is the 5-lane Cartier Bridge to the east.
    – The existing dedicated transit lane on the Champlain Bridge moves slightly more people than the Metro’s Orange Line to the South Shore, for a total of 104,000 people a day on average. Transit through the tunnel is nowhere close, though I note this figure is similar to the Canada Line daily ridership, a line that ends over seven km from the tunnel.
    – The proposed Champlain bridge consists of eight (8) lanes total, two of which will be dedicated to a new LRT service from day one. The proposed Massey Bridge is over-engineered at a ridiculous 10 lanes with no rail transit proposed on the horizon. Dedicated BRT remains optional, at least from the provincial government’s side.
    – Champlain, only 3 km from downtown Montreal, joins the 1.8 million people of Montreal Island to the 752,000 on the central and west portion of the South Shore, serving almost 70% of metropolitan Montreal’s 3.8 million people. Massey serves a tiny fraction of that population size.
    – The existing Champlain Bridge is severely corroded by multiple applications of salt each winter over several decades to the point where it’s structural integrity is threatened. It moves a lot more people and cargo than the Massey route and there are no nearby alternatives. Its financials are more than justified, outside of cost recovery. Whether the Massey tunnel is seismically stable or not (the report linked in the main post attests to its stability), its replacement is literally sizing up to be a boondoggle and a white elephant in one package gift wrapped with incomplete financial and shoddy transportation planning work.

  3. MB; Remember the buzz words, we must build now because there are another million people coming.
    By the way, you are forgetting the venerable Victoria Bridge, less than a kilometre down river from the Champlain and the Mercier Bridge up river. All road bridges.

  4. No, I didn’t forget Pont Victoria. I purposely excluded it because it doesn’t have as much car traffic capacity compared to Champlain or Cartier, and its two lanes take a very circuitous route through Ile Notre Dame. Now if Champlain had freight rail ……

  5. MB; We are appalled and embarrassed that you would so casually belittle the Victoria Jubilee Bridge. On completion this was the longest bridge in the world and the first bridge to the island of Montreal, that was otherwise cut off during the ice season, from the rest of the world. The bridge has, to this day, two lanes of traffic into the city, as well as a modest bus service, due to weight constraints, and the main CN train service from Halifax.
    The importance of this highly esteemed bridge is perhaps better understood when we remember that the Prince of Wales traveled to Montreal for the official inauguration of the bridge. The son of Stephenson’s Rocket, that ushered in our industrial revolution, being the brilliant designer of the Victoria Bridge only serves to compound the magnitude of the historical significance of the bridge, to this day.
    The circular assent and decent on the eastern side are a common design feature for a bridge and have not necessitated adjustment in alignment for over a hundred and fifty years.

  6. Not a bad historical diversion, Eric. Victoria still has a modest two lanes capacity plus double freight rail tracks …. and yes, an illustrious if overtly English background in the middle of Francophone Canada.
    Are you suggesting the feds and Quebec should save the taxpayer’s money and take out Champlain and rebuild Victoria instead? It’s not clear why you are elevating Victoria’s modest capacity.

  7. You attempted to present the illusion that the Chaplain Bridge along with the Jacques Cartier Bridge were “the only other”, as you said, bridges available for crossing the St Lawrence.
    We would have thought that the correction that includes the other two crossings close by, the Victoria Bridge and the Mercier Bridge, would be something that someone like you that seeks precision, would welcome.
    Three of Montreal’s road bridges that are close to the city lead to the east. The Mercier is more to the south, they then also have their oven tunnel, the Trans Canada Highways’, Louis Hippolyte Fontaine Tunnel built in 1967, 3 lanes in each direction 24/7.
    The least one would expect is a third decent crossing for Metro Vancouver on the major highway to the Ferry Terminal, the fast growing regions to the south and the USA.

  8. Why not extend the Canada Line to Ladner and Tsawassen town and even the ferry terminal? This will cut down on traffick

    1. Yes that would make sense.
      In addition the bridge is meant to allow bigger boats up the Fraser River to allow more commercial development to the left / north (Richmond and New West) and the right/south (Ladner, Delta, Surrey) of the Fraser River. The current tunnels are too shallow in the water. They have to be deeper. Unclear why a lower, wider tunnel wasn’t considered.
      We need BOTH: more public transit (RAPID, please i.e. rail based) and more car & truck infrastructure in a growing region which is also Canada’s only major export hub, as all railways, highways and pipelines end here !
      The bridge (or lower tunnel) is to monetize this strategic location. That makes total sense to me.

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