Bridge Over Troubled Water
April 9, 2017
By Jim Ronback, System Safety Engineer (retired)
Transportation Minister Todd Stone was either sadly misinformed or lying to the press at the impromptu ground-breaking ceremony held in the former Delta fire hall 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. (note as well: American coal) 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).
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."
2) Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project
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
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.
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 deep water 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
6) Update on George Massey Tunnel Replacement - City of Richmond, July 10, 2015
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
8) Braess's paradox is a proposed explanation for a seeming improvement to a road network being able to impede traffic through it.
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
Government Lies & Deception
Citizen Voices united
in protection of
the fraser river