It is no surprise that as soon as a potential pause was suggested for the Massey Bridge (now approaching 12 billion dollars with financing costs) that fear mongering would come out, as noted in the Delta Optimist. It is one of those things that is going to look very odd to future generations in Metro Vancouver. Here was a massive bridge being placed on the sensitive floodplain and on the most arable soils in Canada, ostensibly protected by the Agricultural Land Reserve. The placement of the bridge was counter to the Mayors’ Council and to Metro Vancouver, and contained no infrastructure to enable rapid public transit. The Liberal government trotted out that it was being built for “congestion” despite the fact that the Port does not operate on a 24 hour time-table like every other port in North America, and that trucking is allowed through the tunnel even at rush hours. The tunnel which is very similar to ones used in Europe all of a sudden was said to not be earthquake-proof, even though earlier studies showed it was.
Many assumed that the bridge was being built to accommodate the draft of larger ships up the Fraser, and indeed documentation has been obtained suggesting this. Recently released materials now suggest that the cost of dredging may be astronomical, which again suggests that twinning the tunnels may be the prudent option.
Green leader Andrew Weaver has suggested that a second tunnel would be a more inexpensive option, and that a new bridge may not be part of the overall metro Vancouver transportation plan. In a moment of clarity that was so lacking from the Liberals going into the election, Weaver noted “that what is needed is a comprehensive strategy in Metro Vancouver for transportation that includes public transportation, bridge retrofits, and may include a second tunnel.”
A cogent response is here from Malcolm Johnston. He states: “Fake news is endemic in today’s world, especially if one does not get one’s way politically…The now reported $12 billion bridge was strictly a political decision and abandoning its construction will, once again, be a political decision…With the Port Authority, now seemingly washing their hands of bringing Panama Max. tankers and colliers up the Fraser, due to the cost of dredging the South Arm, the need for this “back of an envelope” designed mega bridge is gone. What is desperately needed is sound and honest transportation planning for the Vancouver/Richmond and South Delta/Surrey and not … designed to benefit friends of the government, who “pay to play”.