Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Province’s own numbers show Massey Bridge unneeded

”Because congestion” is a reason that the provincial government loves using when it needs a justification to build massive bridges and large roads in Metro Vancouver. Tolls are used to offset some of the costs of building these projects. Tolls also bust congestion.

As can be seen on the Port Mann Bridge, there is less traffic on the bridge today than went across the old bridge in the past. There has only been a jump in traffic over the Port Mann this May and June likely due to the Pattullo Bridge being virtually closed due to rehabilitation.

The environmental assessment for the proposed George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge is currently in progress. 145 pages of the material submitted by the province for the environmental assessment deals with traffic.

Here’s some facts:

Average traffic volumes across the George Massey Tunnel and Alex Fraser Bridge since 2005. Select table to enlarge.

Traffic volume through the Massey Tunnel has been declining over the last decade. There was less traffic going through the Massey Tunnel in 2014 on average than in 2003.

The Ministry of Transportation’s “independent” traffic model shows that a tolled crossing would drop traffic to a level not seen since the 1980s. TransLink numbers show an even stepper decline in traffic.

Traffic forecasts. TransLink's tolled traffic forecast: TL-RTM Tolled. Independent traffic forecast: SDG Independent. Select chart to enlarge.

The Alex Fraser Bridge has seen an increase in traffic. If the provincial government was serious about reducing congestion, it would toll all river crossings to reduce congestion, using the revenue to invent in keeping the current road network in a state of good repair, and investing the remainder into transit and the regional transportation vision.

If the province invested the money it spent on the Port Mann Bridge and soon-to-be George Massey Bridge instead on the regional transportation vision, we would have world-leading bus service and rail rapid transit along Broadway, King George, 104th Avenue, and Fraser Highway to Langley today.


Corey Burger said...

Boring facts aren't going to get in the way of a good highway project. I mean, all those road construction firms need to get money back for their donations to the BC Liberals.

A Langley City Resident said...

You need to consider all reasons why the structure needs replacement.

- What would happen to the tunnel in the event of an earthquake? What are magnitude of earthquake would cause the tunnel to be non-functional or loss of life? What other services (i.e. pipelines) would be damaged in the event of an earthquake? What is the probability that that level of magnitude would happen in the next 50 years? How will emergency services react?
- What are the current and future projected maintenance costs of the tunnel? If economic benefits are factored in, will a replacement be cheaper? Will it be more environmentally friendly?
- Is the current design of the tunnel safe? What would happen if a major multi-vehicle accident occurred in the tunnel?
- Why does the province want to replace the tunnel? What are their motives? Who stands to benefit?

etc etc

Nathan Pachal said...

Those are good questions. Unfortunately, a detailed business case for the tunnel replacement as it currently is proposed has not been made public.

Nathan Pachal said...

Here is a link to the business case.