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

Posts Tagged ‘George Massey Tunnel

Guest Post: There is no bridge design

with one comment

proposed-george-massey-bridge-artist-rendering

Susan Jones, of Fraser Voices has sent this letter to NDP MLAs with copies to the press. She has also given permission for it to be posted to social media

Thank you for canceling construction of the bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel.  The media are erroneously reporting that the technical work has been done on the planned bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel.  In fact the numerous documents posted by the B.C. Liberal Government are mainly literature compilations and descriptive information.

There is no bridge design.  There is only a preliminary, conceptual plan for the bridge.  The six geotechnical reports are mainly a collection of available information.  The Geotechnical Data Report, posted February, 2017, contains test-hole data and laboratory investigations which do not include “project design requirements” and “cannot guarantee or warranty that the geotechnical information obtained is sufficient to fully satisfy the project objectives or requirements.”[i]

There is no evidence that a bridge can be safely constructed at this location. Without data and evidence, it is not possible to calculate the cost of the bridge.  In fact, evidence collected to date confirms that the soils in location of the planned bridge are liquefiable sand and silt to great depths.  Any bridge supports would need to be deep pile foundations.  It they can be built at all, they would be exorbitantly expensive due to depth requirements and massive lateral structures.

The geotechnical information available to the public is accompanied by a disqualifier:

The contents of this memorandum are not sufficient nor detailed enough for the final design, and should not be relied upon for the final design, for bidding purposes or for construction.”[ii]  

Yet the B.C. Liberals were planning to award contracts in the summer of 2017.

The option of upgrading the existing tunnel and sinking a second tube was not credibly pursued by the B.C. Liberals.  In April, 2013, Tunnel Engineering Consultations (TEC) from the Netherlands came to consult with the B.C. Ministry of Transportation.[iii]  No written report of this consultation has been provided to the public in spite of Freedom of Information requests.  It appears the BC Government did not request formal input.  I suggest the B.C. Government contact TEC and request further consultation.

Thank you again for planning to review the project.  Unfortunately, it is politically difficult as the tunnel congestion is a controversial issue that needs to be addressed effectively.

Sincerely,

Susan Jones

References:

[i] February 9, 2017:  GEOTECHNICAL DATA REPORT – OAK STREET BRIDGE TO LADNER TRUNK ROAD George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, Scrolled page 3/324

https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/52/2017/04/Technical-Background-Geotech-1.pdf

 

[ii] February 9, 2017:  GEOTECHNICAL DATA REPORT – OAK STREET BRIDGE TO LADNER TRUNK ROAD George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, Scrolled page 203/324

https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/52/2017/04/Technical-Background-Geotech-1.pdf

[iii] Planning Chronology for Massey Tunnel Replacement, Fact Sheet B.C. Government News, Sept. 13, 2016

https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/planning-chronology-for-massey-tunnel-replacement

 

 

cc:       B.C. Government NDP MLAs

Mayor and Council, City of Richmond

Mayor and Council, Corporation of Delta

Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Province

Delta Optimist

Richmond News

Surrey Leader Now

Peace Arch News

CityHallWatch

Written by Stephen Rees

September 13, 2017 at 8:53 am

The Massey Bridge has been cancelled

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new-massey-bridge-conceptual-design-submitted-photo-bc-gov-e1471649224939

The BC government has announced that it will conduct independent review to find best solution for George Massey corridor.

The following is the text of the press release

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is proceeding with an independent technical review of the George Massey Tunnel corridor to find a solution that gets people and goods moving and makes sense for commuters across the region.

The ministry is in the process of recruiting the individual to lead the technical review, and will support the review with expertise in highway infrastructure construction, transportation planning and traffic engineering.

The review will focus on what level of improvement is needed in the context of regional and provincial planning, growth and vision, as well as which option would be best for the corridor, be it the proposed 10-lane bridge, a smaller bridge or tunnel.

The Province’s work on the project, up to this point, will be looked at closely as part of the independent review, including technical information developed by the project team and from Metro Vancouver municipalities, as well as new analysis that includes looking at how the removal of tolls will affect the crossing.

While the review is underway, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena will engage mayors from Metro Vancouver, including Richmond and Delta, to gather their perspectives on the project, and to ensure that any plan for this corridor reflects their ideas and fits into the overall vision for the region.

Based on the recommendations received, the Province will determine next steps to address the congestion along the Highway 99 corridor.

Pending the outcome of the review, the current procurement process has been cancelled and the project will not be budgeted for in the government’s capital plan until a solution has been identified. The terms of the request for proposals dictate that each of the two final bidding teams will be paid up to $2 million to help offset their expenses to date.

The Province has spent approximately $66 million on the estimated $3.5-billion project. BC Hydro has spent approximately $25 million on its transmission relocation project. Work completed to date is expected to be utilized regardless of which option is chosen. Valuable property has been acquired, pre-load construction work along the Highway 99 corridor is wrapping up, and technical work and analysis will be considered as government moves forward to improve the crossing.

Emphasis added

Written by Stephen Rees

September 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delta

with 6 comments

Mouth of the Fraser aerial 2007_0710_105838AA

“This week, share a photograph that signifies transitions and change to you.”

This is an aerial shot from a plane leaving Vancouver on its way to Toronto in July 2007. I had to do quite a bit of work to edit the original – removing the mist that bedevils aerial photos, and correcting the colour, as well as adjusting the frame. Note that I have left the horizon tilted. I usually straighten that but in this case the plane is climbing steeply and turning eastwards. The plane leaving Vancouver took off over the Strait of Georgia, westwards, into the prevailing wind then turned towards the east.

The delta of the Fraser River is under threat from industrialisation. It is some of the most fertile soil in British Columbia, and one of the few places where vegetables can be grown. The river is still one of the most important ecosystems in the province with the remaining salmon runs threatened both by urban sprawl and climate change. Add to that the determination of the port to expand its activities – especially for the export of fossil fuels – and the storage of containers, which mostly come into the port loaded but have very much less utility for our exports, and we face a huge challenge.

I was very surprised to read in the original challenge “the current growing louder and faster before it spilled into the sea” which is exactly the opposite of what happens in this river delta – and almost certainly every other. The river’s current is much faster inland, where it rushes through the Fraser Canyon. The restriction of Hell’s Gate was one of the greatest challenges facing the Europeans when they started to exploit this part of the world. In building the Canadian National Railway they succeeded in blocking the river with their explosives, and the indigenous people carried the salmon upstream in baskets to help ensure the continuation of the species. The river turns westward at Hope and, as the valley widens, slows and begins to meander. The amount of silt that the water can carry drops as it slows, building the gravel beds that the gold prospectors pounced on, and the rich soils of what became farmland. In its natural state as the valley bottom opens up and flattens out the river would constantly move north and south seeking the sea between the mud banks and silt layers. We have of course put a stop to that with dykes and embankments to prevent flooding – that is actually the natural state – and constant dredging of the shipping channel to keep it open and, contentiously, to allow for larger ships.

This “photograph that signifies transitions and change to you” is one that I have used a lot on this blog as part of the campaign that challenges the present plans to expand the port and build a new, huge bridge at the leftmost edge of this picture, where the soil of the river banks is 2,000m or more of silts and sands, prone to liquefaction in the case of earthquakes (another imminent threat in this region) let alone the damage to Pacific flyway, the eelgrass beds, the habitat of many sensitive life forms and, of course, Burns Bog. You can read more about these issues in both this blog and at Fraser Voices.

And, by the way, the name of the municipality in most of this picture is Delta.

Written by Stephen Rees

June 28, 2017 at 10:36 am

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

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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