January 17, 2018

Back to the Bridge~Presentation to Previous Provincial Government on Twinning the Massey Tunnel Options

Doug Massey the son of George Massey (for whom the Massey Tunnel is named) spoke on radio regarding the memo and report prepared on options for the Massey Tunnel.  Mr. Massey had asked the previous provincial government in a Freedom of Information Request for information on potential options for a submersive tunnel. Mr. Massey received no information from his inquiry.  However  the report has now been released under the new Provincial government and the new Minister of Transportation, Claire Trevena. You can read the  April of 2013 TEC (Tunnel Engineering Consultants)  60 page presentation to Provincial staff here.
Massey TEC 4 april R2
The presentation from TEC includes an introduction to the Tunnel Engineering Consultants, some of their work (they are one of the leaders in tunnel technology in the world), specific observations on the Massey Tunnel, an outline of issues and considerations, and a section for “discussion”.
Despite what the previous Provincial government has said, this presentation notes that submersive tunnels can be safer than open highways, with separation of traffic flows, an escape gallery and good design and traffic control and management systems. The presentation highlighted the Busan and Geoje Island bridge/tunnel fixed link in South Korea, which is an eight kilometers long and is one of the deepest tunnels in the world because of a  major navigational channel. With  unfavourable ground, wave action and seismic conditions new techniques were used to create this tunnel which has been in successful operation since 2010.

In examining the Massey Tunnel, TEC looked at the various options for placing a new submersive tunnel. Those options included maintaining the existing crossing, replacing the crossing with a new tunnel or a bridge, maintaining the tunnel and building a bridge or new tunnel, and also maintaining the tunnel and building a new crossing in a new location. TEC prepared cross-section layouts, and looked at options for the future use of the existing tunnel. TEC recommended the use of a type of  tunnel similar to that used in the Femern tunnel providing an 18 kilometer submersive tunnel between Demark and Germany.
As described in the previous memo on Price Tags Vancouver, Provincial government staff saw this presentation and this submersive tunnel technology as an “eye opener”. There are however no cost estimates contained in this documentation to give a sense of the costs of building this tunnel, or what the thought process was for the Province to have dismissed this option.

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