Another cogent letter in the Richmond News written by Andy Hobbs questions the expenditure of $3.5 billion dollars (now forecast to exceed $4.5 billion dollars) on the Massey Bridge, which at three kilometers will be the longest bridge in the province. “The 3,000-metre proposed bridge replaces a 629-metre tunnel in order to cross a river that’s about 200-metres wide. “
“In 2004, the province invested $22.2 million in seismic upgrades to the existing tunnel which has a remaining life span of 10 to 15 years. The highest estimate for twinning the existing tunnel is $1.7 billion and takes far less time than the new bridge’s construction.
“Of course, there are other considerations beyond practical budgetary factors. The visual footprint of the proposed bridge would dominate the surrounding flat landscape and consume arable land and planned city parkland. While the new bridge would be an impressive structure, its 10 lanes, immense multi-storey profile, and 3,000-metre length would overpower neighbourhoods on both sides of the river. Our goal, whenever practical, should be to minimize our footprint on the environment. Unlike the bridge, an enhanced twinned tunnel would provide very comparable transportation improvements while minimizing our intrusion on the environment.”
“There’s no question that the George Massey Tunnel requires improvements to reduce traffic congestion. With more than 80,000 vehicles using the tunnel every day and 8,000 during the rush hour(s), the provincial government should be commended for committing to making improvements.”
Courage, leadership and changing one’s mind are not mutually exclusive. Too often, all of us, including governments, become too entrenched in our positions on various issues. For some, reconsideration, reflection or changing our minds or plans are seen, somehow, as weakness or indecisiveness. The willingness to listen and, perhaps, alter plans should be seen as strength, strong leadership and confidence, not weakness. In terms of the bridge, the government should demonstrate leadership, political courage and reconsider the bridge proposal.”
“In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, the plan for a freeway through Vancouver was contentious and, eventually, it was shelved and the freeway was stopped. There wasn’t unanimity at the time and only through a historical lens can that decision be confirmed as visionary. The George Massey Tunnel replacement is another watershed moment. It is not too late for reconsideration and to change plans.”