tunnel

City of Richmond Councillor Carol Day joins the discussion on the Massey Bridge in a letter published in the Delta Optimist. This saga of the Massey Tunnel morphing into a ten lane bridge has a history that goes back over a decade, with a host of constantly changing rationales and purposes, and a burgeoning multi-billion dollar taxpayer-funded price tag.

Concerns are many for this bridge placement at this location. There is the sensitivity of the Fraser River Delta, the destruction of more Class 1 farmland which was purportedly “protected” in the Agricultural Land Reserve, the fact that such a large bridge will simply move vehicles into parking lots on either side, and the fact that a twinned tunnel replacement was never seriously examined.

As Councillor Day notes “In 2006, the B.C. Liberal government’s Gateway Program looked ahead to “twinning the George Massey Tunnel under the south arm of the Fraser River between Richmond and Delta.” That meant adding another tunnel tube in order to increase the capacity by at least two lanes. However, the Gateway report stated, “The project is on the back burner in part because it would put pressure on traffic bottlenecks to the north, requiring expansion of the Oak Street and Knight Street bridges into Vancouver or a new bridge into Burnaby.”

“Contradicting its own 2006 logic, the province now wants to demolish the tunnel and build a 10-lane bridge. It has paid lip service to considering three other options to expand the crossing’s capacity, but in its B.C. environmental assessment application those options have the same high capacity as the 10-lane bridge. “

“…The province’s assessment process, inadequate for this purpose, will allow the province to get away with that, even though Richmond and Metro Vancouver have reasoned for limited expansion that is consistent with the province’s 2006 logic. Their calls for moderate options have been ignored.  It is as though the views of the local governments do not exist. Who knows better than the Metro Vancouver Mayors Council how to enhance our Metro Vancouver transportation system?”

Councillor Day is asking for the public to press  “the federal government to begin a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency review. It would include options that meet the needs of Metro Vancouver and Richmond, consider environmental effects in a wider and cumulative way, and enable independent decisions. “

Despite the fact that all the municipalities except Delta have nixed this location of this mega bridge and despite this extraordinary cost for a “bridge too wide” the process just lumbers on with no accounting for other options. Who is this bridge really serving?

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