On September 12, 2017, Delta resident Susan Jones wrote this letter to nearly 50 MLAs including the B.C. Cabinet, BC Greens MLAs, and Councils in Delta and Richmond. Republished here with permission.
September 12, 2017
Executive Council of the B.C. Government
PO Box 9041 STN Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E1
B.C. Green Party MLAs
Re: Cancelation of bridge construction and review of the George Massey Tunnel
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.
[i] February 9, 2017: GEOTECHNICAL DATA REPORT – OAK STREET BRIDGE TO LADNER TRUNK ROAD George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, Scrolled page 3/324
[ii] February 9, 2017: GEOTECHNICAL DATA REPORT – OAK STREET BRIDGE TO LADNER TRUNK ROAD George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, Scrolled page 203/324
[iii] Planning Chronology for Massey Tunnel Replacement, Fact Sheet B.C. Government News, Sept. 13, 2016
cc: B.C. Government NDP MLAs
Mayor and Council, City of Richmond
Mayor and Council, Corporation of Delta