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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for April 2017

Sailing into Unknown Waters

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LNG tanker
file photo: Reuters

There is a lot wrong with the present BC government’s obsession with establishing an LNG industry. It is, of course, based on fracking – which has been creating earthquakes in BC, a place which, you might think, has quite enough of an earthquake risk already. We also know that the industry has been understating the release of methane from fracking – and that is far more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. It is also the case that the costs of producing and storing power from wind and solar sources have been dropping rapidly – far faster than any other power producing source anticipated. That means that whole idea that there is a need for some kind of intermediate step between phasing out coal and switching to 100% renewables is redundant.

The siting of LNG plants has also been one of significant controversy, mainly because of sensitive ecological issues which have been ignored by our deliberately crippled environmental review process. There is an LNG plant operating here already – and has been for many years. It is operated by what is now called Fortis BC, which used to be BC Gas. They developed an LNG program to reduce their storage costs. Gas gets produced year round but demand is heavily seasonal. They were also interested in developing new markets in an exercise called load spreading – for example using natural gas either in its compressed or liquid forms for transportation. Which is where I came in. As a policy analyst and transportation economist for the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum resources in the early 1990s I was lobbied by BC Gas to try to get CNG powered buses for BC Transit, and LNG for BC Ferries. The first did happen, the second didn’t. But CNG in transit had a very chequered history.

The LNG plant is located at Tilbury on the Fraser estuary.

Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 2.58.38 PM

One of the reasons the Port is so keen on getting rid of the tunnel is the potential to increase traffic on the river – including much larger LNG tankers for exports. People like Todd Stone have been denying this, but the evidence is overwhelming. But what that also means is that due diligence has not been done in assessing whether such a proposal is desirable at this location. I used to be a Fortis shareholder, as my financial advisor was very keen on their performance and its impact on my portfolio. We had a very interesting discussion about the meaning of the words “risk assessment” – particularly when it came to the expansion of the Tilbury terminal.

I am indebted to Kevin Washbrook, who has been very diligent in researching this issue and bringing it to the attention of Fraser Voices – one of the groups opposing the tunnel replacement. That is another reason for the insertion of the map: the proximity of the terminal and the idea of very large LNG vessels passing under the bridge is a concern, but because of the way the way that all the proposals in the area are viewed as standalone and no cumulative assessment has been done, the concern is not now being addressed.

As Kevin says

Canada is way behind what is legally required in the US and not at all prepared for security or safety risks of building LNG terminals near coastal communities.  The Wespac proposal on the Fraser River is particularly egregious.  I don’t think there is any way it would be approved in the US.

The comparison to security procedures in the Port of Boston is interesting.   There a major bridge over the Tobin River is closed every time an LNG tanker transits underneath.

I don’t have any sense that the Province has considered this in their planning for the new 10 lane Fraser River crossing.   Security closures during rush hour when LNG tankers are transiting the river?  That won’t go down well.

There is a full report as a pdf file. Part Five is a focused review of the Wespac proposal on the Fraser River and is of particular interest.

To give you a taste of what is covered I am going to cut and paste the Executive Summary here

The pursuit of an LNG export industry in British Columbia is taking place without the government oversight needed to protect the public from safety and security risks.

US regulatory processes provide clear guidance on how to screen LNG proposals for these risks, and how to enforce security protocols around LNG facilities and tankers. Both are needed to protect communities and critical infrastructure from the risks posed by LNG. Similar regulatory processes could easily be established in Canada – if governments chose to make public safety and security a priority.

However, in British Columbia LNG export proponents choose siting locations according to their own criteria. When these proposals enter licensing, permitting and approval processes, those sites are taken as a given:

• NEB export licensing decisions consider only whether proposed exports will impact Canada’s domestic supply of natural gas;

• Our federal government, with responsibility for marine safety, has not established a pre-screening process for marine LNG facilities or a process for assessing the security of our waterways for the movement of LNG tankers;

• The voluntary TERMPOL review process does not consider security concerns;

• Federal Marine Transportation Security Regulations contain no terminal siting criteria or waterway assessment protocols;

• Federal and provincial environmental assessment processes address accidents, but not the likelihood and consequences of deliberate attack; and

• The BC Oil and Gas Commission, with authority over the permitting of coastal LNG facilities, does not explicitly require assessment of the risk of deliberate attack on those facilities, and excludes consideration of LNG tankers and marine approaches to proposed facilities from hazard identification and emergency planning processes.

In short, no government agency, federal or provincial, is tasked with asking fundamentally important questions:

• Is this a safe place to build an LNG terminal?

• Is this an appropriate waterway for the movement of LNG tankers?

As a result, as project reviews gain momentum, there is valid concern that approval processes will attempt to mitigate risks through design requirements for projects that should have been rejected at the outset because they are poorly sited.

The best way to manage security and safety risks around LNG development in BC is to avoid creating those risks in the first place. Canada and British Columbia need to establish transparent and well justified site selection and waterway suitability assessment processes for LNG export proposals to ensure we avoid these risks. A preliminary pre-screening process will be an important tool for eliminating poorly sited project proposals, and will save proponents and government time and money that would otherwise be spent in lengthy approval and permitting processes.

Fortunately, the hard work of developing a pre-screening process has already taken place in the United States. Studies by Sandia National Laboratories have determined justifiable hazard planning distances for assessing risk posed by proposed LNG facilities and LNG tanker movements on nearby populations and critical infrastructure.

The Sandia Laboratory findings have been incorporated into a comprehensive waterway suitability assessment process used by the US Coast Guard to screen LNG marine terminal proposals for safety and security risks. USCG waterway suitability findings from this process are used by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the US agency in charge of LNG terminal approvals) in their decisions on LNG terminal proposals.

Canada should look closely at existing US regulations – they provide a ready made and proven template for developing our own pre-screening process to protect the public from LNG risks during the process of LNG terminal site selection.

However, even if government did develop a comprehensive pre-screening process, British Columbians would still face risks from LNG export projects. Our federal government has failed to establish a preparedness and response regime for ship-source incidents involving hazardous substances like LNG, despite long identifying such a regime as a priority. The LNG industry has not established a dedicated response organization such as the one in place to address oil spills. Coastal first responders are likely unprepared to deal with the serious hazards posed by a worst case incident involving loss of containment and fire on an LNG tanker. Canada has not established a regulatory regime for bunkering LNG–fuelled vessels, nor, apparently, a certification program for LNG bunker barges.

Further, existing marine security regulations in Canada are underdeveloped and reactive. They do not incorporate, as normal operating procedure, moving exclusion zones around LNG tankers that are common practice in US ports. In addition, neither our Port Authorities nor LNG proponents themselves appear adequately resourced to enforce such exclusion zones if they were applied.

While the probability of a deliberate attack or serious accident on an LNG tanker or facility may be low, the consequences for our communities or critical coastal infrastructure of such an attack could be catastrophic. Government has a responsibility to properly assess and prepare for these risks before BC exports LNG.

Our governments have shown themselves to be keen supporters of development of an LNG export industry. However, before LNG exports proceed, they must show they are just as keen to protect public safety and security from the risks posed by that industry.

BC and Canada should place a moratorium on approved and proposed LNG exports until key regulatory issues are addressed, including 1) developing a proper site screening and waterway suitability assessment process for evaluating LNG export proposals 2) establishing mandatory and enforceable security procedures to address the risk of deliberate attack on LNG facilities and tankers and 3) creating a robust preparedness and response regime for ship source incidents involving LNG, and ensuring that LNG bunkering is properly regulated and LNG bunker barges are properly certified.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Earth

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IMG_2029

When I first saw the challenge for this week I was thinking of looking for one of my gigantic panoramas. But then as I was scrolling through Photos on my MacBook I saw this little snapshot. We were walking around the Cleveland Dam and Capilano park, when I saw this skunk cabbage emerging from the earth. That does look like a particularly fecund bit of ground – lots of naturally composting plants and detritus from the forest. And that fern is really artistic, don’t you think?

We have had almost continuous rain here for months – and the chance to get outside during the brief dry spells is eagerly grasped. Spring has been late, but all around things are emerging and blooming as the warmth returns – if not much actual direct sunshine.

We need to keep in mind how much we depend on earth. The fact that we have anything to eat at all depends on a few inches of topsoil and dependable rain. But humans seem to be very bad at understanding that this is very fragile and easily broken. There might be water on a moon of Saturn, but that does not give us any realistic alternative to taking better care of the Earth we inherited and are so lucky to have survived our ill treatment thus far.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 19, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Weekly Photo Challenge “Surprise”

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IMG_1828via Photo Challenge: Surprise

The little white dots of foam that you see on the surface of the spaghetti squash are where I carefully pierced the skin with a large fork to allow the steam to escape. I have done this many times when cooking it in the microwave. Probably the easiest way to deal with this vegetable. This time, there were not enough holes, apparently, as there was a loud bang. Surprise!

Fortunately this was toward the end of the cooking time, and the mess was fairly limited. It was very tasty: served with a meat sauce, of which there were leftovers, which I have just finished for lunch today – with real spaghetti – not another squash or any surprises.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 12, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Posted in photography

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Why Andrew Weaver got into politics

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Written by Stephen Rees

April 11, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Posted in Green Party, politics

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Debunking MoTI again

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Massey-Bridge-renderingOn April 1, the provincial government put out a Fact Sheet claiming that a cable stayed bridge can be built on the silt and mud of the current tunnel site. I have expressed my doubts before, but it is now claimed that new engineering techniques will allow a bridge to be built now that were not available at the time a tunnel was chosen. I am not an engineer, so I am willing to defer to those with expertise in that field. What I am qualified to say is that a bridge is not necessary to solve the current traffic congestion, and that adding transit capacity in this corridor is the only way to ensure that the present problem of delays can be resolved. Simply moving them elsewhere solves nothing, and encouraging more trips by cars is not doing us any favours either. Removing the tunnel might suit the ambitions of the Port of Vancouver but there is no acknowledgement by the Province that this includes increasing the depth of the ship channel. And, so far as I can tell, the disastrous impact that would have on the ecology of the estuary has not even been adequately assessed, let alone the idea that it could somehow be mitigated

The rest of this post is by Tom Morrison – and I will let it speak for itself


Re: Massey Tunnel Replacement Bridge Fact Sheet

I read with interest the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge fact sheet, originating with MoTI and published in The Delta Optimist. It suffers from a certain lack of precision which this letter will attempt to remedy.

The logs of the two boreholes drilled to 335 metres from surface for the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge show only sand and silt, with decomposed organic material as far as 280 metres from surface, ranging from 20% to 50% water content. While the boreholes did encounter layers of stiff, dense material, core recovery ranged erratically with depth from 100% down to as little as 0%, the missing material being so soft that it was not recovered in the coring tube. The question that I posed some time ago: “Given the foundation conditions, can a bridge be built at reasonable cost, if at all?” remains unanswered, beyond the obvious fact that you can build (almost) anything, provided you spend enough (taxpayer) money doing so.

Before the Massey Tunnel was built, Crippen Wright Engineering wrote the following report:

Crippen Wright Engineering Ltd. Comparative Report on Fraser River Bridge and Tunnel Crossings at Deas Island. December 1955

Page 5: “Surface and subsurface investigations show that the site is well suited to the construction of a tunnel.”

Page 6: “Subsurface investigations disclose soil with relatively low load bearing characteristics, and there is no bed rock at practicable depths; the foundations for the main piers will require an extensive pile driving program.”

Page 8: “Bridge piers and anchors will require very expensive foundations since there is no bed rock or other good bearing material at any practicable depth.”

The report did not say that a bridge could not be built, just that it would be very expensive to do so. The foundation conditions were one reason, among many, why a tunnel was chosen instead of a bridge.

The fact sheet points to other bridges built nearby:

The Alex Fraser bridge.

Bazett, D.J., McCammon, N.R. Foundations of the Annacis cable-stayed bridge. Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Volume 23, No. 4, 1986, reads as follows:

Page 461: “On the south side, the stratigraphic sequence consists of glacial and interglacial sediments at least l00 m thick, which have been overridden by at least one of the major glaciers. They are hard or very dense and form good foundation bearing materials.”

“In sharp contrast, the north bank subsurface deposits consist of approximately 65 m of postglacial sediments resting unconformally on late glacial and older glacial marine sediments.”

Figure 3 shows the north tower as built on piles bottoming in layered material described as:

“Glaciomarine and marine sediments. Stiff to hard. Grey clayey silt interbedded with stony equivalents up to 4 m thick and layers of gravelly sand.”

And

“Subaqueous glaciofluvial sediments. Very stiff to hard, dense grey silt, sandy silt, clayey silt, and silty sand grading into medium to coarse sand with thin layers of gravel at depth.”

This contrasts with the 335+ metres of sand and silt encountered at the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge site.

The first Port Mann bridge.

The first Port Mann bridge was a 4-lane structure, opened in 1964.

See Golder, H. Q., Willeumier, G. C. Design of the Main Foundations of the Port Mann Bridge. Engineering Institute of Canada, 1964.

Page 1: “On the south side of the river the soil conditions were worse than on the north side and consisted of a layer of soft peat to a depth of 15 ft. overlying soft organic silts and clay silts down to about 40 ft., below this again was a compact peat underlain by clay to a depth of from 45 to50 ft. Layers of sand of varying density, with occasional layers of silt extended down to a depth of about 110 ft. and below this was gravel and sand to 120 ft. depth. From a depth of 120 ft. to 190 ft. the soil consisted of soft to firm sensitive clays and silts with occasional sand partings. Below this was compact granular material, some of which was till or till-like and some of which was probably waterlaid sands and silts which had been loaded by ice in the past.

“Whatever the actual geological history of this material, for the purposes of this paper it is referred to as “the till” or “the till-like material.” Artesian water pressure existed in some of the lower gravel layers. The foundation problem for the bridge stopped when the till-like material was reached.

“On the north side of the river the conditions were simpler consisting of a thick sand layer overlain by some compressible material and overlying a clay layer of some 60 ft. thick. Below this was the till-like material.”

Till, also known as glacial till or boulder clay, is defined (McGraw Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, 2003.) as:

“An unstratified glacial deposit which consists of pockets of clay, gravel, sand, silt, and boulders; has not been subject to the sorting action of water; usually has good load-sustaining properties.”

This contrasts with the 1,100 ft. of sand and silt encountered at the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge site, from which till is notably absent.

The new Port Mann bridge.

The new, 10-lane Port Mann bridge opened in 2012.

A web note by International Bridge Technologies, Inc. has this to say:

“Foundations for the new Port Mann Bridge are generally 1.8-m (5.9-ft) steel piles or drilled shafts, supported on a firm ground till layer under the loose sand deposits at a depth below the river.”

The Pitt River bridge.

The 6-lane Pitt River bridge was opened in 2009.

International Bridge Technologies, Inc. The Pitt River Bridge. 2011, reports:

Page 5: “The geotechnical conditions at the site were not favorable. As expected in and around the river, deep layers of soft soil were present. The firm till layer existed some 30m below the mudline. While it could be shown that skin friction had the ability to carry the vertical loads of the bridge, the Owner stipulated that the piles be embedded into the till.”

This contrasts with the 335+ metres of sand and silt encountered at the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge site, from which till is notably absent.

Also:

Sorenson, J. New Pitt River bridge pier pilings push envelope. Journal of Commerce, August 15, 2007.

“The construction of the pilings supporting the piers for the new Pitt River bridge will push the envelope for British Columbia bridge construction, says project manager Ross Gilmour of Peter Kiewet Sons Ltd.

“Pilings are being driven to a depth of 100 metres to support the piers for the new bridge. By comparison, the depth of piers driven for the existing bridge was 60 metres.

“The construction of the pilings supporting the piers for the new Pitt River bridge will be pushing the envelope from what is normally seen in B.C. bridge construction, says Peter Kiewet Sons Ltd. project manager Ross Gilmour. ‘For piles of this size and the depth to which they are being driven, for all intensive purposes, we are pushing the envelope of what has been done. It is not the biggest pipe or the deepest in the world but it is on the edge of the envelope,’ he says.”

“Gilmour says pilings for the new bridge are being driven to a depth of 100 metres to support the piers for the new bridge. By comparison, the depth of piers driven for the existing bridge was 60 metres. (The new Golden Ears Bridge connecting Langley to Maple Ridge has piers driven to a 90 metre depth across the larger Fraser River).

“ ‘I wasn’t here then,’ he says, when the existing Pitt River bridge was constructed, but, he guesses that technology had not advanced to drive piles deeper during the 1970s. (Over the years, there has been some noted sinking of the existing bridge structure.) Gilmour says that the area in which the Pitt River bridge sits is mainly clays and silts, which vary in depths throughout the Fraser Valley. “What it means is that there is nothing solid to get a foundation on until we get to that (100 metre) depth,” he says. Exploratory drilling has been done to ensure the foundation material exists at that level and is suitable.”

No such foundation material is evident in the 335-metre boreholes drilled on the site of the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge.

The Golden Ears bridge.

The 6-lane Golden Ears bridge was opened in 2009.

See Yang, D., Naesgaard, E., Byrne, P. M. Soil-Structure Interaction Considerations In Seismic Design For Deep Bridge Foundations. 6th International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, Arlington, VA, August, 2008.

Page 2:  “The subsoil conditions at the main river crossing consist of loose to medium dense sands, up to 35m thick on the south bank of the Fraser River and typically 20m thick within the river channel, resting upon normally consolidated to lightly over-consolidated clays and silts extending to the bottom of the deepest test holes drilled up to 120m below the ground surface.”

No such foundation material is evident in the 335-metre boreholes drilled on the site of the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge.

The fact sheet refers to the 6-lane Sutong bridge in China, opened in 2008.

See Bittner, R. B., Safaqah, O., Zhang, X., Jensen, O. J. Design and Construction of the Sutong Bridge Foundations. DFI Journal, Volume 1, No. 1, November, 2007.

Page 4: “The soils at the pylon site consist mainly of firm to stiff CL clay extending to elevation -45m followed by layers of medium to very dense fine to coarse sands and silty sands with occasional loam layers. Bedrock is located at approximately 240 m below riverbed.”

This contrasts with the 335+ metres of sand and silt encountered at the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge site.

The fact sheet refers to the 4-lane Rion Antirion bridge in Greece, opened in 2004.

See Biesiadecki, G. L., Dobry, R., Leventis, G. E., Peck, R. B. Rion – Antirion Bridge Foundations: a Blend of Design and Construction Innovation. Fifth International Conference on Case Histories in Geotechnical Engineering, New York, April, 2004.

Page 4: Figure 5. Generalized Soil Profile, shows borings going to 160 metres below sea level intersecting 30-80% clay layers, the balance being sand and silt. This material may be more favourable to foundation construction than the 335+ metres of sand and silt encountered at the Massey tunnel replacement bridge.

The fact sheet refers to the Jamuna River bridge, Bangladesh – 4 lanes plus railroad, opened 1998.

See Barr, J. M., Farooq, A., Guest, S. Foundations of the Jamuna Bridge: design and construction. ETH, Zurich, 1999.

Page 250: “The site lies in the Bengal geosyncline which is continually subsiding, leading to the deposition of sediments brought down from the upper reaches. At Sirajganj the depth to basement rock is as much as 6km.”

However:

“Soil investigations undertaken between 1986 and 1988 during Phases I and II of the Feasibility Studies approximately 1 km from the final alignment showed recent alluvial silty sands, loose at the surface becoming medium dense with gravelly layers below a depth of about 50m extending to about 100m where hard silty clay overlies a dense mica silt.”

This contrasts with the 335+ metres of sand and silt encountered at the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge site.

The fact sheet cites: “Numerous major bridges over the Mississippi River in the United States.”

Taking one at random, let us look at the I-70 bridge at St. Louis, MO.

Geotechnical Report, I-70 Mississippi River Bridge, Volume I – Engineering Report, St. Louis, Missouri – East St. Louis, Illinois. Missouri Dept. of Transportation, Job No. J6i0984, Missouri Dept. of  Transportation Bridge No. A6500.

Page 6. “While the bedrock is exposed in the Illinois bluffs several miles away, none outcrops in the project area. The bedrock surface ranges from 10 to 40 feet below the surface on the Missouri upper bank to 70 feet at the west bank, then slopes downward eastward along the project to a depth of 130 feet near Illinois Route 3.”

This bridge site is underlain by shallow bedrock.

The 6-lane Biloxi Bay replacement bridge was built in the more challenging conditions of the Mississippi delta in 2007.

See Thompson, W. R., Held, L., Saye, S. Test Pile Program to Determine Axial Capacity and Pile Setup for the Biloxi Bay Bridge. DFI Journal, Vol. 3 No. 1, May 2009

Page 14: “In general, the soils at the site consist of sands and clays of Pleistocene or early Recent age. The surface deposits are typically early Recent sands and soft clays. Beneath the sands are

Pleistocene deposits of very stiff to stiff clays and medium dense to dense sands.”

Borings went to 160 feet from surface (Figure 1), encountering stronger material than that underlying the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge site.

The fact sheet states: “Thousands of hours of professional geotechnical and bridge structural engineering have been dedicated to ensuring that the new George Massey replacement bridge and its supports are appropriately designed for the conditions at the crossing site and for a major seismic event.” The Ministry will doubtless have no objection to sharing the reports that this work must have generated.

The bridges cited by the Ministry fact sheet are 4- and 6-lane structures, all founded – ultimately – on a firm bearing layer capable of supporting the weight of the bridge. If a bearing layer, capable of supporting the heavier 10-lane Massey Tunnel replacement bridge, exists within the 335-metre depth from surface exposed by the two boreholes, it is not obvious. The MoTI is planning a heavier bridge than those cited on apparently weaker foundation material.

Assuming that the planned bridge can, in fact, be built, the question remains: “Can it be built for any reasonable cost?” Time will tell.

POSTSCRIPT

That is not the only Delta resident not taken in by Todd Stone and his flunkies. To reward you for reading this far, here is some more debunking

Dear Editor,

Transportation Minister Todd Stone was either sadly misinformed or
lying to the press at the impromptu groundbreaking ceremony held in the
former Delta firehall when he claimed that the proposed bridge replacing Massey
Tunnel is not being built to accommodate Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) since
“large ships aren’t able to turn around in the Fraser River anyway”(1). He
conveniently forgets that the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project (2) on
the north side of the Fraser River, approved by PMV’s environmental assessment
office, provides a terminal and a 80 million liter tank farm for unloading
Panamax supertankers carrying hazardous jet fuel. That terminal location allows
the jet fuel supertankers to turn around with the help of tugs before they
are escorted out to the Salish Sea. At the recently approved Fraser River Surrey Docks project, Panamax-size coal ships will be loaded and turned around (3). Similarly the LNG terminal location on south side of the Fraser for the LNG supertankers also provides capability for turnarounds (4).   PMV initially requested that the air draft of the proposed bridge be raised to 65 m from 57 m to allow taller cruise ships, LNG supertankers and freighters to go past each other under the bridge (5, 6). PMV has since then recommended 59.6 m for a tall single ship passage only.

The removal of Massey Tunnel and replacing it with a high ten lane
bridge and subsequently dredging (7) the river deeper is all in aid of PMV
providing unfettered access for larger ships to go further up river and
thus further industrialize the Fraser River (5) and destroy its habitat and
estuary for salmon fisheries and wildlife (9).

Yours safely,

Jim Ronback,
System Safety Engineer (retired)

Tsawwassen,. BC

P.S. Replacing a four lane tunnel with a 10 lane bridge may not
necessarily reduce one’s travel time if it creates a Braess’s paradox (8)
in the overall transportation network. We need confirmation that this
paradox will not occur.

1) “Stone also categorically rejected the notion the tunnel was being
replaced to accommodate Port Metro Vancouver, which isn’t contributing
to the project, saying large ships aren’t able to turn around in the
Fraser River anyway.”
http://www.delta-optimist.com/news/protestors-try-to-damper-bridge-announcement-photo-gallery-1.14222564

2) Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project
http://www.vancouverairportfuel.ca/

3) “Port Metro Vancouver has approved a revised shipping plan that
would see deep-sea vessels loaded at the Fraser Surrey Docks.
… The new plan involves the same amount of coal—four million
tons a year. But instead of 640 barges, some 80 Panamax-size
ships will be loaded each year. However, a longer ship loader
will be required, and extensive dredging would be necessary so
that there is room in the river to turn the ships around. The ships
are 225 metres in length.”
Revised coal shipping plan approved- Patrick Brown
Island Tides, Volume 28 Number 1 January 14, 2016
http://www.islandtides.com/assets/reprint/coal_20160114.pdf

4) LNG Fraser River export project approved by National Energy Board
The liquefied natural gas would be exported from a facility in Delta, B.C.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/lng-fraser-river-export-project-approved-by-national-energy-board-1.3098376

5) “The port (PMV) has long been an advocate for the Massey Tunnel replacement
because of port-related traffic congestion in the tunnel and the constraints
on deepwater vessel traffic. For years, the port has cited the pre-built
sectional tunnel’s shallow draft as a major impediment to expanding
commercial river traffic.”
Port Metro wants Massey bridge higher to allow biggest LNG tankers, May 22, 2015
http://www.vancouversun.com/Port+Metro+wants+Massey+bridge+higher+allow+biggest+tankers+documents/11072958/story.html

6) Update on George Massey Tunnel Replacement
– City of Richmond, July 10, 2015
http://www.richmond.ca/__shared/assets/_15_Update_GMT_Replacement_Project_Council_07271542046.pdf

7) IMPLICATIONS OF DREDGING THE LOWER FRASER RIVER FOR THE PURPOSE OF
INCREASING COMMERCIAL SHIPPING
– THE RISK TO SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES, SERVICES & FISHERIES, PRELIMINARY REPORT
Trevor Langevin, September 2016
https://metrovanwatch.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/fraser-river-dredge-report-sept-2016-langevin.pdf

8) Braess’s paradox is a proposed explanation for a seeming improvement to a
road network being able to impede traffic through it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braess%27_paradox

9) The Questionable Science of Vancouver’s Port Expansion
A flawed environmental impact assessment may have consequences for the western sandpiper.
by Amorina Kingdon , Published November 28, 2016
https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-long/questionable-science-vancouvers-port-expansion

 

Written by Stephen Rees

April 8, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Musqueam isn’t Celebrating

with 2 comments

new-bridge

Cut and Paste from a Press Release

Musqueam isn’t celebrating with BC regarding George Massey Tunnel Removal and Bridge Project

For Immediate Release

Thurs. April 6, 2017

Musqueam Territory, Vancouver, BC – Canada.  Yesterday the BC government announced the  construction of a bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel (GMT). The project lies in the heart of Musqueam territory and the BC government has not received consent from Musqueam to proceed. It is in an area that has been occupied by Musqueam since time immemorial.  GMT is surrounded by heritage sites, and other culturally important sites, including fishing areas in the Lower Fraser River that Musqueam has Aboriginal rights to fish, which are protected by the Canadian Constitution after a Supreme Court of Canada ruling (R. v Sparrow, 1992).

 

Chief Wayne Sparrow stated, “Musqueam has not been meaningfully consulted nor accommodated for the GMT project. This project is in the core of our exclusive territory and the Provincial and Federal government have not received Musqueam’s consent.”

 

The GMT project will involve the construction of a 10-lane bridge, and the removal of the tunnel. The tunnel removal will add to the negative cumulative effects in Musqueam’s territorial waters in the Fraser River. BC and Canada have not considered these effects as they continue to approve projects like this without meaningfully consulting, accommodating and compensating Musqueam for these cumulative impacts.

 

“Musqueam will not stand for the continued degradation of our lands and waters.  The BC and Canadian government have much work to do with us to ensure the GMT project can proceed according to Musqueam conditions”, said Chief Sparrow.  He added, “Musqueam is leading in areas of stewardship and management in our territory, and will raise the bar on all future projects in Musqueam territory.  We are not against development, but it must be done in ways that include Musqueam values, and ensures the protection of our rights.”

 

Musqueam has cultural sites all around the project and in the Lower Fraser River that provide evidence of Musqueam exclusive use and occupancy, thousands of years before Canadian Confederation.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

Vaughn Palmer: ‘Forces of no’ dig in for tunnel replacement ceremony

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DSCN9158There was an opinion piece by Vaughn Palmer in the Vancouver Sun yesterday which did not give anything like a balanced coverage. The protest is against spending far too much money on a “solution” that we know will not work. Not against doing something about people currently experiencing long delays to get through the tunnel at some times of day. Groups like Fraser Voices have been concerned that the bridge was decided on in the Premier’s office – and all the effort since then has been to justify a quixotic choice. All the other options – including sticking to the BC Liberals’ previous plan – are simply ignored. And then they lie about the port’s intentions to deepen the ship channel.

So I wrote a Letter to The Editor.  I am putting this out here now because I think it is very unlikely to be published.


Vaughn Palmer’s characterization of the protest at the tunnel ceremony is not accurate. There are real alternatives to the $3.5bn vanity project that have not been adequately examined.

The real problem is congestion at peak periods. Traffic through the tunnel has actually been in steady decline for the last ten years. However, the Port of Vancouver operates the container terminal on bankers’ hours. Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. No other port operates like that. It ensures that truck traffic uses the tunnel at peak periods, and makes the congestion worse. That is deliberate. It helps the port make the case for tunnel removal. There are plenty of records available that demonstrate the Port’s long term strategy for deepening the dredging of the channel – and the tunnel prevents that. In the short term, simply banning trucks at peak periods – and opening the container collection and delivery facilities  24/7 – will relieve the present problem.

In the longer term, congestion can never be solved by widening roads. Never has done, never will do. All that does is move the line-up to somewhere else. The only way to reduce car traffic is to increase transit service. One bus can carry many more people in a given length of road than cars can. The province has already invested in bus lanes both sides of the tunnel but service needs to be increased. And when that isn’t enough, add another tube on the river bed carrying light rail.

As for the claim that the “full freight will be covered by tolls”, it has not worked for the Port Mann or the Golden Ears. Why would the Massey replacement be any different?

Written by Stephen Rees

April 6, 2017 at 12:27 pm