Stephen Rees's blog

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

Posts Tagged ‘George Massey Tunnel

Debunking MoTI again

with 2 comments

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

with 2 comments

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

The over-sized, over-priced bridge does NOT have public support

leave a comment »

new-bridge

A guest post from Susan Jones of Fraser Voices

Public support new crossing of Fraser but not the planned bridge

 

Environmental Assessment96% of submissions opposed the bridge

Metro Vancouver:                  21 of 22 Mayors oppose the bridge[i]

BC Minister of Transportation, Todd Stone, has been misrepresenting public opinion of the planned new bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel.  In January, 2017, former BC Premier Mike Harcourt claimed it would be a better idea to build another tunnel.[ii]

 

Minister Stone replied that another tunnel was more expensive and that Mr. Harcourt’s claims do not reflect the opinions of thousands of people who participated in the public consultations.[iii]

 

In fact, a review of the public consultations reveals that Mr. Harcourt’s comments do reflect public opinion which is strong opposition to the bridge.

 

Respondents to four consultation periods showed support for:

  • another tunnel
  • retention of the existing tunnel with upgrades
  • rapid transit
  • protection of farmland

 

Respondents expressed concerns about:

  • costs to taxpayers
  • plans to pay for the bridge with user tolls
  • increasing number of trucks
  • plans for LNG vessels on the river
  • large shipping vessels on the river carrying jet fuel and coal
  • lack of integrated regional transportation plan
  • impacts of construction over several years
  • destruction of habitat
  • air pollution

 

The last opportunity for public input was the Environmental Assessment of the planned bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel. (January 15, 2016 to February 16, 2016)[iv]

 

Of 446 written submissions, 22 offered comments without showing support or opposition to the planned bridge.  Of the other 424 submissions, 96% expressed opposition to the bridge.  Only 4% supported the bridge.

 

There were three earlier consultation periods.  The first phase (November-December, 2012)[v] sought information from the public on usage of the tunnel.  16 written submissions were thoughtful comments about transit, environment and integrated regional planning.  Many urged retention of the existing tunnel.

 

The second phase (March-April, 2013) offered 5 options but the feedback form did not provide opportunity for fair comment.  The report of phase 2 claimed high support for a new bridge but there was no evidence to support the claim.

 

The information provided at the Open Houses and meetings was incomplete.  Facilitators told attendees that a bridge is cheaper than a tunnel but did not provide evidence.  One facilitator told the public that “only 2% of respondents in Phase 1 wanted to keep the tunnel”.

 

Many of the written submissions offered the same concerns as documented in the first phase.  A number of written submissions opposed the bridge (21/47) while a small percentage expressed support (7/47).

 

The Third Consultation Period (December, 2015-January, 2016) occurred after the announcement of the bridge.  The results of this phase were documented in a report prepared by Lucent Quay Consulting.  The Report documented numerous issues raised by the public.  There was considerable concern about costs and tolls.

 

Palmer: Liberals claim support for bridge tolls[vi]

March 31, 2016 7:22 am

 

VICTORIA: “The B.C. Liberals are claiming the latest round of public consultations has confirmed “strong public support” for their plan to replace the George Massey tunnel with a toll bridge.

 

But the summary report on those consultations, released Wednesday, tells a different story.

Those who commute through the often-congested tunnel on a daily basis likewise support the prospect of getting to and from work more quickly.

But there was precious little support for the more controversial aspects of the project.

 

Only 24 per cent of those responding via a publicly distributed feedback form made a point of saying they were “generally supportive” of the overall scope of the tunnel replacement plan. A further 31 per cent expressed conditional support for some aspects of the project as outlined on the feedback form.

 

But that was far from constituting an unqualified endorsement for the plan to remove the existing tunnel, replace it with a high-level 10-lane bridge, and reconstruct adjacent connecting roads and intersections at a combined cost of $3.5 billion.

 

Even more misleading was the government characterization of the survey’s findings on tolling.

 

Respondents were told only that the “province intends to fund the project through user tolls and is working with the federal government to determine potential funding partnerships.”

 

Most supporters of the bridge serve vested interests.  The over-sized, over-priced bridge does not have public support.

 

References

[i] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/massey-tunnel-replacement-bridge-lone-supportive-mayor-very-disappointed-1.3660661

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/metro-vancouver-george-massey-tunnel-rejects-1.3658013

 

[ii]  http://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinion-there-are-alternatives-to-replacing-the-massey-tunnel

 

[iii] http://www.delta-optimist.com/opinion/letters/bridge-is-best-option-to-replace-tunnel-minister-1.10031818

 

[iv] http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/pcp/comments/George_Massey_comments.html

Comments will be available on this page until March 15, 2016 and after this date all posted comments will be available through the EAO electronic Project Information Centre (ePIC) application

 

[v] https://engage.gov.bc.ca/masseytunnel/documentlibrary/

This document library includes information on all the phases of public input except the environmental assessment which is reference #iv

 

[vi] http://vancouversun.com/storyline/morning-comment-vaughn-palmer-liberals-claim-support-for-bridge-tolls

Written by Stephen Rees

February 22, 2017 at 8:19 am

Guest post from Doug Massey

with one comment

Massey-Bridge-rendering

 

Reply to article Optimist Jan. 20 2017 “Due diligence done on bridge” The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone makes some statements that need to be answered.

Although the decision has been made to remove the George Massey Tunnel and build a new 10 lane bridge I feel the following information should be shared.

On May 25, 1959 the Deas Tunnel (George Massey Tunnel)as it was known then was opened for traffic. In the first 41 hours 135,000 motorists travelled through the tunnel, this exceeded the tunnel’s rated capacity of 7,000 cars per hour by 300 additional cars. On April 26, 1960 George Massey received a letter from the B.C. Toll Highways and Bridge Authority that stated that 1,000,000 mark in the number of vehicles using the Deas Island Tunnel (GMT) was reached on Oct. 31, 1959. One has to remember that there was no port or ferry terminal at that time.

If the statistics from the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure are correct that in 2015, the Annual Average Daily Traffic was 80,666. which would equal some 3, 361 vehicle per hour, well below the GMT tunnels capacity of 7,000 cars per hour, why then is there a problem at rush hour?

Could it be that Delta Port is the only major port in North America that does not operate 24/7?  The fact that one container  or large transport truck could displace up to 1.5 to 4 cars and subject to the fact that heavy trucks take up more space and are slow to accelerate could result in taking up the space of up to several more cars, perhaps up to 10 cars on the road,as  at least 13 % of the vehicles using the GMT during rush hour are large heavy duty trucks.

One has to ask why then has the B.C. Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure not even considered a modern day policy of banning all heavy duty large trucks during rush hour, and requiring all receiving and delivery points of cargo to be open 24/7 as is required in most cities around the world?

My second point refers to the statement the Minister made that it is a fallacy how anyone could think that they are removing the GMT so that the Fraser River could be dredged deeper to accommodate deeper ships, and that the province was not part of that project, could not be further from the truth. One part is true that they would not be doing the dredging because that is the responsibility of the federal agency, Port Metro Vancouver.

But building a bridge and removing the tunnel would be their preference. and at the urging of industrial interests of the Pacific Gateway Strategy Plan on the Fraser River they chose the bridge.

A representative from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was present at meeting of the Pacific Gateway Strategy Plan on April 2006 and on Feb. 2. 2012, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure of the B.C. government met to discuss the constraints to increasing the Fraser River channel depth because of the existence of the George Massey Tunnel and recommended the removal of the George Massey Tunnel to achieve their goals. So you see Mr. Minister and the public it was not a fallacy but a conspiracy.

Submitted by: Douglas George Massey

Written by Stephen Rees

January 21, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Will shaky soils kill the bridge?

with one comment

Massey-Bridge-rendering

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?

Written by Stephen Rees

December 1, 2016 at 11:25 am

Enough with provincial misinformation

with 3 comments

Transportation Minister Todd Stone did a presentation recently to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. The government then put out the following Fact Sheet

Fact-Sheet-Massey-Replacement-Myths-Mar-2016

I must admit that when I read it I became almost incoherent with rage. I think Myth #3 is the one that really did it for me. But then I have written more often about induced traffic more than any other topic I think. Seems that way to me. But fortunately I have found a fresh voice on these issues.

I am not going to take credit for the following letter to the editor which has been submitted by N. Herman of Richmond. He has generously allowed me to publish it here in case the mainstream media decide to ignore it.

No one disagrees that the Massey Tunnel is a traffic bottleneck. In many respects however, choosing the right solution can be a “life or death” proposition.

To replace the Massey Tunnel with a bridge has been a questionable proposition recently, and in fact (not a “myth”), it contradicts the same provincial governments own previous, public decision to add another tunnel. And make no mistake, the bridge is huge, in fact (not a “myth”), it will be the biggest bridge of its kind in North America. Think you are going to enjoy a quiet summer BBQ in the backyard ? How about a quiet night’s sleep? Aside from diesel particulate and other pollution blown down on your property, the din of bridge traffic noise, elevated above the river, may be heard miles into Richmond and Delta, and it will be relentless, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Stability of the bridge? It will be built in an area that is proven to have the highest risk of liquefaction during an earthquake. Think the “Fast Ferries” were a disaster? This liquefaction risk alone could turn $3.5 billion into worthless rubble in minutes. Has the provincial government completed its soil analysis ? Of course not, but its already spending your hard earned taxpayer money installing pilings.

We should also be clear that the real purpose of the bridge is to allow massive ocean going freighters to ship carbon based fuels on the Fraser River, which they cannot get access to now because of the tunnel. And contrary to Minister Stone, it is not a “myth” that the Port of Metro Vancouver repeatedly petitioned the provincial government to raise the bridge for this purpose. And what of those fuels? First we have LNG. Not a “myth” as claimed by Minister Stone, did you know that placing an LNG plant so close to a populated area is actually illegal in the United States due to EPA safety rules? If any LNG is spilled on the Fraser, the explosion radius can be measured in miles. If the USA has made it illegal, and it is against international industry regulations, why is the provincial government putting your life and the lives of your loved ones at risk?

And what about coal? Well as it turns out, it’s not even Canadian coal. The coal will be shipped from Wyoming in the United States. Again ask yourself “why” when Seattle and Portland both have good ports. Again, the answer is simple. Coal dust is carcinogenic: coal trans-shipment is banned in both those states. It’s not a “myth” that Premier Clark and Transportation Minister Stone seem to think its “a-ok” to put your life at risk doing something that is so dangerous, that it’s illegal in the USA. It currently appears that the Port further intents to pave over 2,500 acres of the Gilmore Farm right beside Steveston Highway in Richmond. So much for healthy local food.

[moderator: the location and size of the Gilmore Farm is the subject of some questions on another forum where Harold Steves clarifies: “The Gilmore Farm in East Richmond was bought by the port for port expansion. It is about 218 acres not 2,500. The Gilmore Estates is 324 acres south of Steveston Highway and has nothing to do with the port. Port Metro Vancouver wants 2,500 acres for port expansion and the Gilmore Farm is part of it.” ]

Then we have an expanded “jet fuel” tanker farm near the #6 Road entertainment complex, serviced by barges. So let’s ask ourselves what pervasive reason exists to use barges instead of just pumping the fuel from the Cherry Point refinery in Washington State? Again, it is a task of looking behind the real “myth” perpetrated by the provincial government. The moment fuel enters a pipe at the refinery, it must be paid for. When shipped by barges, it is not paid for until off-loaded. This allows the Airport consortium to therefore play the commodities market on fuel, which can amount to millions of dollars of profit a year. With no on-site personnel, and no dedicated fire station, how long do you think it will take for a disaster such as a massive firestorm to occur while they profit from playing the markets? Again, call your Liberal MLA and ask them why they think that’s ”a-ok” for the government to put our lives at risk.

The fact, not a “myth” is that Premier Clark, Transportation Minister Stone and the Port of Metro Vancouver have all flown to Ottawa to advocate for a project that according to a recent FOI request has zero documentation for a business case. Perhaps it was “triple deleted” or “verbal only”? Whatever happened to the provincial government’s pledge of honest disclosure and transparency? If a bridge is such a good idea, where is the report? Where is the independent environmental review”, and why should that even be an issue to them, if the idea is so good? The Mayors Council is demanding that the provincial government “come clean”, and stop this cynical illusion of public consultation that ridicules the publics intelligence with publicity stunts like the ” Debunking the Myths ” presentation that Minister Todd Stone tried to sell last week. Two pre- vetted “questions” were asked at the end of his presentation, and then he disappears faster than a magician.

People are “fed-up” of the government playing fast and loose with the truth. As the Transit Tax referendum results demonstrated, people are “done” with wasted tax dollars spent on pet projects to feed a political ego. The public is also “done” with false statements made regarding a bridge proposal with purported “massive public support” when investigative reporter Vaughn Palmer discovers that of 1,000 “consultations” only 140 were in support. This is as troubling as the Richmond Chamber of Commerce claiming “a majority of Richmond businesses support the bridge option” when they do not represent all businesses in Richmond, and another investigation reveals that in fact (not “myth”) over 80% of their members never even voted on the survey. Does every Mayor in the province realize that their own city’s budget for infrastructure has been slashed by 1/3 by the provincial government in order to build this one bridge? If not, they should be writing the Premier.

It is time to revisit the previous transit plan that Minister Kevin Falcon had developed that built a solid business case for an additional tunnel, and admit that a bridge has never been the best solution to relieve Massey tunnel traffic congestion. An expanded tunnel would economically, and with minimal environmental impact, allow for better traffic movement and an expanded rapid transit corridor.

The Province needs to listen and learn from the Metro Vancouver governments who are strongly united in their opposition to a bridge for good reason, and learn from them how best to create a transit corridor that will move us forward in a modern and effective way. The only real “myth” right now is the provincial government has been transparent and open. Enough of the Todd Stone flim-flam, and waste of our hard earned tax dollars.

Enough with unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats destroying the world heritage Fraser River with dangerous, life threatening over-industrialization that is illegal in other parts of North America. its time for citizens to take control of this foolishness before living in Richmond or Delta becomes a “life and death” situation.

Postscript : New Westminster Councillor Patrick Johnstone has now published a comprehensive debunking of the Ten Myths “Fact Sheet” on his blog – which in itself is well worth following

Written by Stephen Rees

April 10, 2016 at 11:16 am