Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category
I am not an engineer or a geologist. But I do know that soil liquefaction is a huge problem for structures in earthquake prone areas, like the one we live in. When the shaking starts what seemed to be solid ground is actually waterlogged sands and similar material – the result of millennia of silt being deposited by the Fraser River as it slows on its way to the sea – starts to move. The damage to buildings in San Francisco in its famous quake was due to similar soil conditions. They still cause issues there: a high rise called Millennium has piles that do not reach bedrock and it is both sinking and leaning.
When the Massey crossing was first contemplated it was these soil conditions that caused the engineers to reject the idea of a bridge and chose a tunnel instead. Those conditions have not changed since. The Geological Survey of Canada in 1995 reported that bedrock is around 1,970 to 2,300 feet below where the new bridge is proposed. More recently B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had two holes bored to 1,099 feet “without tagging bedrock” – not really a surprise since there was another 1,000 feet to go.
We know that Greater Vancouver is going to experience a major earthquake since there has not been a major shift in the tectonic plates since European settlement started, but there was apparently a “big one” which was recorded as a tsunami that hit Japan. These events are hard to predict with any accuracy but many seismologists think it is “overdue”. No-one has ever built a cable stayed bridge of this size in these kind of conditions. Indeed it is very hard to think of why anyone would propose taking such a risk – anyone who has the imagination to envisage what happens to two massive towers unsecured to bedrock but linked by cables and a bridge deck when the soil beneath them liquefies and shakes.
“I think people tend to focus on the Big One. If you’re looking at the statistics there’s a one in 10 chance that it will happen within the next 50 years. I think of those as fairly high odds. If we had a lottery with that kind of probability you’d probably buy a ticket,” she said.
The “she” quoted is Earthquake Canada seismologist Alison Bird
Ask yourself, as Premier Christy Clark wants you to buy a bridge, do you feel lucky?
The increase in shipping traffic if the TransMountain pipeline expansion is actually implemented poses a quite extraordinary threat to the Salish Sea. I heard on the CBC yesterday that the ships used to load at pipeline terminal in Burnaby are smaller than optimal, so they will be running a shuttle service to supertankers moored off the coast somewhere for transhipment. And do not forget that we are talking about diluted bitumen: this is a heavy mixture of tar and sand mixed with natural gas condensate to get it to flow. In the event of a spill, the lighter fractions quickly evaporates, and the bitumen sinks. That means it is for all intents and purposes irrecoverable. Indeed, I think, as campaigners against the pipeline, we need to take a lesson from Jordan Bateman and repeat “dilbit sinks” whenever anyone talks about what a great idea tar sands exports are.
The following is a letter that Susan Jones has sent to our politicians. She copied it to Fraser Voices and has given me permission to reproduce it here.
The Right Honourable Justin P. Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Members of Parliament Ottawa, Canada, K1A 0E4
Have you any idea of what you have just approved with the Kinder Morgan pipeline in British Columbia?
Your statistics and statements of fact are not correct and should be referenced.
According to the website below:
“ More than 10,000 vessels transit the lower Strait of Georgia, Boundary Pass and Haro Strait each year. But that includes tugs, fishing boats, private yachts and ferry boats. There are about 3,000 large tankers, container ships and bulk carriers that pass the same way each year. Adding another 400 tankers would increase the total traffic to about ten ships a day, a bit less than one every hour, coming or going.”
This is not 1% increase as stated by the federal Liberal Government. It is more than a 13% increase in large ships.
Also, you have not included other planned increases as outlined in the article referenced below. If all proceed, there will be a 40% increase in large vessels through the narrow shipping lane from Vancouver to the Pacific This is also the route traveled by the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) which you are entrusted to protect.
The information you have broadcast is not “evidence based” and it is not “safe” for the amazing environment of the Strait of Georgia, Boundary Pass, Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Just take a look at the maps below and see how narrow the shipping passes are from Vancouver to the Pacific. In addition, the passage from the Juan de Fuca Strait to the Pacific is dangerous and subject to strong winds, and powerful currents. The area, also known as the Big Eddy is rich in nutrients supporting entire food chains – from plankton to whales.
Take a look at the route below and think about the impact of even a minor accident or spill. Even without an accident, the noise impact of increased numbers of large ships interferes with whale communication leading to mortality. The impacts of increased numbers of large vessels cannot be effectively mitigated.
This graphic appeared in my Twitter stream today posted by Professor Chris Oliver of Anstruther, Scotland. I started following him merely because he happens to come from Forest Gate, but if you are on Twitter he is definitely worth a follow @CyclingSurgeon. The graphic is also Creative Commons.
The original comes from The Independent – a uk newspaper
I got this from the facebook page of Friends of the Olympic Line where I also found
The stuff that turns up in my inbox rarely delights me. This did. Long time readers will know I want to see more roundabouts here. Not Traffic Circles. If you haven’t been following along here’s a bunch of posts on that theme.
Next Thursday afternoon (Nov. 17) the city of Carmel, Indiana will celebrate the opening of its 100th roundabout, giving the city far and away more of these European-style intersections than any other community in the United States.
Increasingly, cities are yanking their traffic lights in favor of European-style roundabouts. They’re doing it for reasons that range from cost savings and traffic flow to safety and the environment. As many as four times the number of cars move through a roundabout in the same time as a traffic light, and yet the number of injury-related accidents goes down by an astonishing 80%. And because cars are not idling in long lines before launching again, each roundabout typically saves thousands of gallons of gasoline per year.
Championing these and other environmentally friendly developments in Carmel has been Jim Brainard, the city’s long-time Republican Mayor. Labeled by one publication as a “rogue elephant,” Brainard was one of only four Republicans to sit on a large White House task force for climate change. It’s a position that puts him at odds with many in his party — including, now most notably, the President-elect and his running mate, who of course is also Governor of his state. The Mayor argues that concern for the environment has historically been a core Republican value. And he’s supported strongly by his own constituents — overwhelmingly Republican and generally conservative — who last year elected him to his sixth four-year term.
Several years and dozens of roundabouts ago, CNN did a piece on Carmel’s roundabouts that you may find interesting. Also, just a couple months ago the UK-based Roundabout Appreciation Society named one of Carmel’s roundabouts “Roundabout of the Year,” including it in its annual calendar.
USA Today (Cover Story): http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/10/16/small-towns-think-big/1637047/
The Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/21538779