Letter: Bridge plan is not about democracy

The Editor, 

Fake news is endemic in today’s world, especially if one does not get one’s way politically.

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A recent letter in the Delta Optimist made erroneous claims about the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge; that the decision by the Horgan/Weaver alliance abandoning the new bridge is undemocratic and, “The tunnel has five years left before it starts to fail and become a threat to those who drive through it.”

The now reported $12 billion bridge was strictly a political decision and abandoning its construction will, once again, be a political decision. Also, the tunnel is perfectly safe with a long life to come if properly maintained.

The problem: The last bridge built, crossing the North Arm of the Fraser to Vancouver, the Arthur Laing Bridge, opened in 1975, bringing the total number of traffic lanes entering Vancouver from Richmond to six.

Today, there is still only six traffic lanes entering Vancouver, but the population increase in Richmond and South Delta/Surrey has increased to over 400,000.

The Massey Tunnel today, with counter-flow lanes plays an important role in traffic calming, preventing massive gridlock on Highway 99, Steveston Highway and other arterial roads in Richmond. Building this monster bridge, with its L.A.-style “spaghetti junction” interchanges will effectively move gridlock to Steveston Highway and Highway 99.

The Canada Line is no help because, in an attempt to hide a $2-billion cost overrun, Gordon Campbell’s Liberal government had the project truncated to such an extent it has only 40-metre long station platforms.

With the Port Authority, now seemingly washing their hands of bringing Panama Max. tankers and colliers up the Fraser, due to the cost of dredging the South Arm, the need for this “back of an envelope” designed mega bridge is gone.

What is desperately needed is sound and honest transportation planning for the Vancouver/Richmond and South Delta/Surrey and not “back of the envelope” planning, designed to benefit friends of the government, who “pay to play”.

D. Malcolm Johnston


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