Curiousity reigns over the provincial government’s decision to push forward with a plan to replace the Massey Tunnel, connecting Richmond to Delta, with a $3.5 billion bridge.
As protesters make their opposition to the proposed 10-lane toll bridge known outside a Richmond hotel, inside at the Ministry of Transportation’s open house, feelings are mixed.
“It seems to have come from Christy Clark’s table napkin, oh we are going to build a bridge and it’s going to cost afew billion dollars, which is a totally different approach than any of the other transit stuff.”
Another says something has to be done to address the bottleneck.
“The jam ups now, the tunnel, are just horrendous, you can wait for hours getting over it.”
Some farmers are also concerned about the loss of agricultural land and others suggest the bridge is to cater to industry.
Geoff Freer, the project’s director, acknowledges he can’t make everyone happy – but insists a replacement bridge is the best alternative.
“Basically building a new tunnel would really do a lot more damage from an environment perspective, agriculture, residential, Dease Park, huge effects on all of those things, and be more costly.”
He says the bridge also fits in with the region’s transit strategy and consultations with Translink have been underway for three years.
“We’re talking about 50 lane kilometers of dedicated transit lane in the median, we’re talking about a new connection at Bridgeport, the busses will be able to go from the median transit lane on an overpass over and underneath the Oak Street bridge to get to the Canada Line.”
Freer ads talks are underway with the Federal Government and Port Metro Vancouver to pitch in for some of the costs.
LISTEN: CKNW reporter Shelby Thom joins Drex Live to talk about the bridge project
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie has his concerns with the proposal.
Brodie is worried about about the loss of agricultural land.
“What about farmland property? we’re looking at the statement that there’s a net-gain of farmland, but we don’t know what that is or where that is. “
He also says Port Metro Vancouver needs to pitch in for some of the costs.
“It’s as much a port issue to get more ships up the river, as it’s a traffic issue.”
And Brodie says something needs to be done to address the Oak Street bridge.
“Cars are going to be coming very quickly Northbound over the new bridge, but nothing is being done about the Oak Street bridge, and 70th and Oak and the congestion that area is going to have.”