Infrastructure Design of a Bottleneck

The Infrastructure Design of a Bottleneck

Open Letter to The Province of British Columbia and Trans-link

Written on

   To all concerned.

The number is astonishing. The George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project is estimated at 3.5 Billion Dollars. Yet this will not elevate the congestion of rush hour traffic. To fully appreciate the drive from Vancouver or Richmond to Abbotsford, Mission or Chilliwack, you have to drive it on all routes between 3 and 6 pm. I work in Richmond by #3 road and Alderbridge and I live in Abbotsford. The very best time I have ever made was just over 1 hour and 52 minutes. The worst was a day from hell. I left work at 4 pm and didn’t arrive home until 7:38 at night. The traffic so bad, you could see the anger in more than ¾ of the drivers.

Sure, take the new Port Mann Bridge. Yes, it’s a nice drive. Lots of room. 4 lanes wide open, until 200th. Some smart people thought it was a good idea to funnel 4 lanes into two.  The bottle neck at 208th is completely a good idea gone bad. Sure it opens up around after 232. Yet at 264th we are back to 2 lanes all way to Chilliwack.

91, 99, #10. These are a nightmare. I’ve seen the traffic on the 99 back up as soon as the extra land exiting the tunnel go back to 2. Bumper to bumper all the way to 16 ave. at 35 km an hour. And if it’s a really bad day, a fleet of transport trucks heading to Langley, Aldergrove and beyond.  The drive in during the morning hours to catch the 99 and damn is a farm tractor pull onto 16 ave. at Bradner Road only to do 25 or maybe 30 km/h all the way to 176. Oh, my god, I am behind a horse and buggy. Lets not even talk about #10. Light after light after light. The drive east of King George Hwy. would almost drive and person to have a jammer in the chest.

And then the last route. The Lougheed Hwy. The new Pit River bridge is nice and the traffic jam to get out of Pitt meadows or back to home at the end of the day has gotten worse. What the powers that be have failed at realizing one very important thing. Well, three to be exact. Mountains, Ocean, Border. Those are the three that drive the core eastwards and out to the valley. There is no choice. Maybe you can go deeper into the mountains north, however, the cost is a lot more than building east.

Due to the cost of living for the average blue collar worker, rent and purchasing a home close to the downtown core is next to impossible. I live in Abbotsford and pay $550 for a 2-bedroom basement unit and I have great landlords. There is no way ever I can get that deal in the big city.  However due to my occupation I am forced to make that drive as are so many others. The traffic starts to really thicken up at the Clearbrook-Hwy 1 interchange at 5:30 am. And yet the ruling bodies seem to think a 3.5-billion-dollar bridge is an answer. Wrong. From what I’ve seen they will do exactly what they did on Hwy 1.

A bridge. Think about it. You're bottlenecking the valley. Ask the average driver who takes any of these routes and the choice is so obvious that I really can’t believe it is not being looked at. They have to finish what they started and go further. Hwy. 1 needs to be 4 lanes right through to Whatcom road then cut it back to 3 lanes. That would need to be in both directions.  Hwy 17 is nice but those damn lights and then the entrance to the Alex Fraser Bridge can be a gone show most days. The direct feeders to bridge heading into work are more than double the lanes on the bridge.  The 91 needs another lane south all the way to the 99, and back again for the morning.  The Lougheed-Hwy 7, well maybe a bay-pass route for those who live in Maple Ridge and Mission.

Now for the 99 and more. Easy fix and cheaper. Sink another tunnel. From what I’ve been told from some very smart people is the soil compaction of that area will not withstand the bridge that our government wants to build. The hardpan is too deep if you find any at all. ‘Sink and second tunnel’ and expand the 99 to 4 lanes all the way to the border and make 16 ave. a 4 land hwy.  maybe that 3.5 Billion will cover all that. You might even dump the downtown core in an hour. Think about that. Downtown Richmond or Vancouver and your back home east of the 272 hundred block in and hour during the so-called rush hour. However, we all know that will never happen. The reason for this new bridge…...the Powers That be, our glories leaders, they all want their names on a plaque on a mega project at their trophy.

Oh, one more thing. Vancouver would like do away with all fossil  fuels in the very near future, and from what I was told today, use methane.?!? Really? Soooo what make bigger garbage dumps to produce this methane. Probably get outbid by the Russians anyways.  With that being said I guess all the building materials from wood to steel and concrete are coming either by skytrain or smart car. Maybe a bucket brigade. And what the little 76-year-old widow lady who lives on the 15th floor in Vancouver. If she needs a repairman for anything, is he supposed to walk his tools and equipment around, or maybe he can buy a little red wagon. News flash, you just tripled if not more the cost of “EVERYTHING”

You know I could be wrong about everything. I am up at 4:30 am and I don’t see my house till 6 pm and even later some nights. After all, that commute to and from work leaves very me very tired and my head in the clouds.  And from what I’ve seen I’m not the only one yawning east of 200 street.  For a safety professional, this really leaves me pissed at the whole infrastructure design and direction we are going. Wish more building in the valley it’s only going to get worse, the population thicker and the traffic accidents will increase. People are going to suffer serious injuries or even fatal. 

 

Good Luck To Us All.

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Posted in Construction Safety.

mikew@freebirdsafetyservices.ca

View posts by mikew@freebirdsafetyservices.ca

With several years in Construction, a vast amount in Masonry, when I turned 40 it was time for a change. Occupational Health and Safety was a calling I wish I discovered when I was younger. With over 30 years experience now in the trades, I have a knowledge base I wish to pass on.

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