Massey Tunnel Shit Show

Blunt title but it is time to be blunt, regional transit planning is a “shit show”.

Shit show: Noun, vulgar slang, US origin – a situation or event marked by chaos or controversy.

This aptly describes our regional transit planning, where politicians at all levels of government promote their pet transit theories and projects, using an extremely dishonest bureaucracy to carry out their wishes.

This costs money, an awful lot of money; this wastes timed, an awful lot of precious time; this costs planning paralysis and in the end politicians approve doing the same thing over again, hoping for different results.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” Albert Einstein, Dec 13, 2017.

The Massey tunnel replacement project must stand out as a grand example of political manipulation; yellow journalism by the mainstream media; and a complete lack of any coherent regional transportation plan.

The Massey Tunnel does not need replacing, it is perfectly safe.

What is needed: A new bridge/tunnel crossing of the South Arm, near the vicinity 80th Ave in North Delta and a second bridge/tunnel crossing, of the  North Arm, adjacent to the CN rail bridge, from Richmond to South Burnaby. This entails new highway construction, which the regional politicians are afraid to contemplate.

All the new 8 lane bridge or tunnel do, without a second crossing of the North Arm of the Fraser, is to create a parking lot on Highway 99 in Richmond because of the restricted capacity of the Laing, Oak St. Knight St., and Queensborough bridges!

There has been no capacity increase for crossings of the North Arm of the Fraser River since 1975!

Until a comprehensive transportation plan is tabled and a rational regional strategy for transportation is obtained, any new bridge will create a “shit show” for traffic.


Speeding up Massey Tunnel replacement crucial for economy: Delta city Councillor

by Ria Renouf and Alison Bailey

Posted Nov 1, 2019


Transit advocates say any plan for replacing the Massey Tunnel should be assessed in light of climate concerns

A Delta councillor says a seismically safe, efficient alternative is urgently needed for the crucial economic gateway

DELTA (NEWS 1130) — Transit advocates are citing climate concerns and calling for plans for the George Massey crossing to be studied further, but a Delta politician says enough is enough.

Abundant Transit Vancouver penned an open letter asking for the plan for replacing the crossing to be sent to the Regional District’s Climate Action Committee for further scrutiny.

Coun. Dylan Kruger is a member of that committee and says further study is not necessary and a new crossing is urgently needed.

“They are arguing that there should be no replacement for the George Massey Tunnel because we should not be building for car infrastructure, we should only be building for transit,” he says. “I’m fully in support of building infrastructure to get people out of their cars but there’s a fundamental concept people have to understand when it comes to the Massey tunnel: the Massey Tunnel is the economic gateway into Canada.”

Kruger says commuters aren’t the only ones who rely on the tunnel.

“At the end of the day, container trucks can’t take transit,” he explains. “We still need to build so we can get goods from point A to point B, in this region and in this country. So the notion that we should be building only for transit infrastructure here, I think really does not take into account the economic ramifications.”

For the rest of the story, please click


5 Responses to “Massey Tunnel Shit Show”
  1. Bill Burgess says:

    Rail For The Valley, supporting more bridges and highways, contrary to all pro-transit logic.

    Zwei replies: Well with SkyTrain YOU WILL GET MORE BRIDGES AND HIGHWAYS! You make such a silly statement.

  2. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr Zwei, you note in your Nov. 5 “Reality Check” that money is needed to build and operate transit.

    But instead of supporting more money for Lower Mainland transit you are advocating more bridges and highways. They will not only eat up the funds for transit, they also promote sprawl that makes transit service – including LRT – harder and more costly to provide.

    Whatever the problems with Skytrain as a particular transit technology, they rank well behind the problem that bridges and highways currently enjoy priority in funding.

    It is sad to see Rail For The Valley take the wrong side on this ABC point.

    Zwei replies: One tires of the fiscal ignorance and realities of transportation. New highways and bridges will be built because we cannot afford to build light metro as an alternative to areas needing better transportation.

    Remember, the region is spending $4.6 billion to build a mere 12.8 km of our light metro system, which will not take a car off the road. Politicians will opt to build highways and bridges as the ultra high cost of light metro will force politicos to build more roads.

    Light rail was the affordable option to do this, but sadly politicians were bought off and light metro is being built. You want SkyTrain, well you will get more highways and bridges, it is as simple as that.

  3. Bill Burgess says:

    Really, your excuse for advocating two!!! more bridges and associated highways is that, “Skytrain made me do it”?

    Spending on transportation in Metro Vancouver totals about $13 billion per year.

    The value of social contributions (otherwise known as subsidies) is pegged at about $4.5 billion per year.

    Of this, $3.6 billion is to make car and truck trips possible. Transit account for far less – $0.848 billion, and a mere $0.095 billion goes to enable cycling and walking.

    These numbers are from a Translink report (see

    But the general pattern they depict is repeated again and again in efforts to quantify such factors.

    And the Vancouver pattern is not very different than is found by studies of other cities in Canada and the US. I doubt a “Skytrain effect” would even register in such comparisons.

    So, again, the problems with Skytrain are very secondary to this bigger picture of the priority granted to cars and trucks.

    That priority is the real scandal, and it is the field for the really serious corruption of politicians by the fossil fuel, vehicle manufacturing, construction, and financing/insurance companies.

    Zwei replies: First of all, most reports from Translink are not worth the paper they are printed on.

    The problem we have south of the Fraser (if you care to get out of your arm chair and have a look) is that there has been massive and almost uncontrolled development South of the Fraser and TransLink’s service, to be blunt, is crap. Thus the only way for people to commute is by car. So if a new Fraser Crossing is built, a new bridge crossing the North Arm must be built as well.

    It is called logic.

    If you really want to blame politicians, blame them for corruption with Bombardier Inc. and SNC Lavalin, who own the patents for the proprietary MALM system, for keep building with a hugely expensive obsolete light metro system.

  4. Progressive Horizons says:

    “All the new 8 lane bridge or tunnel do, without a second crossing of the North Arm of the Fraser, is to create a parking lot on Highway 99 in Richmond because of the restricted capacity of the Laing, Oak St. Knight St., and Queensborough bridges!”

    This is an inaccurate claim for two reasons:

    1. The new tunnel will have 3 general-purpose lanes in each direction. In peak times, this means effectively no increase in traffic heading towards Vancouver (unless the 4th lane is an HOV lane instead of a bus-only lane), resulting in no parking lot on Highway 99 despite statements to the contrary. Remember, there are already 3 general-purpose lanes heading to Vancouver with the existing tunnel during the morning rush hour.

    2. The 3 general-purpose lanes in the opposite direction to peak traffic flow will *eliminate* the current parking lot that appears whenever the Massey counterflow lane is active. The volume going “against the flow” is much less than the volume going with it, but forcing it all into one lane means that traffic comes to a virtual standstill. Upgrading to 3 general-purpose lanes in the counterflow direction means that total congestion will be *reduced* (to say nothing of the improvements to transit as a result of the exclusive bus/HOV lane in each direction).

    Also, this is an interesting statement:

    “The Massey Tunnel does not need replacing, it is perfectly safe.”

    Unless you are a civil engineer with experience with seismic studies that has specifically looked at the Massey Tunnel, you have no way to back up this claim. If you are one, please post a link to your engineering study. I’m sure many people would be happy to save a lot of money if the Massey Tunnel didn’t need to be replaced.

    Zwei replies: I am assured that Progressive Horizons is propaganda machine to support certain mega projects in metro Vancouver.

    first of all Civil engineers both with the MoT and privately have assured everyone the present tunnel is safe and doesn’t need replacing. Doug Massey, which the tunnel is named after his father, has a mountain of studies, done by reputable engineers, which say the tunnel is safe.

    The only reason that it was to be replaced was to deepen the Fraser to allow Cape Max. Colliers and tankers to load Braken oil and Montana Coal at Surrey wharves. That plan is now dead because the feds will not pay for all the extra dredging and rejigging dykes and levees to allow faster water flows to scour the Fraser.

    As per your two claims, number one is false as more road space attracts more traffic and will increase present traffic flows.

    As for #2, the extra traffic will over power Steveston and highways, highways 17 and 17A and local roads in Richmond and Delta. And that again is from a transportation engineer.

  5. Progressive Horizons says:

    I am assured that Zweisystem is propaganda machine to support light rail projects in applications that do not make sense and to lobby against anything that could take funding away from these rail projects.

    If you get offended or want to disagree with this statement, no need, for it is as credible as your own statement (with the amusing difference that 5 comments is a much smaller “machine” than an entire website with numerous blog posts).

    “first of all Civil engineers both with the MoT and privately have assured everyone the present tunnel is safe and doesn’t need replacing. Doug Massey, which the tunnel is named after his father, has a mountain of studies, done by reputable engineers”

    Then link to them. Should be easy for you since you evidently know a lot about them. No matter that these same studies say that the Massey Tunnel would not withstand an earthquake with a return period of 276 years (compared to the seismic standards of bridges, built to withstand earthquakes with return periods of
    475 or more years).

    “The only reason that it was to be replaced was to deepen the Fraser”

    This might have been true for the original 10-lane bridge replacement, but it is objectively not true for the current 8-lane immersed tube tunnel replacement, which requires minimal dredging and will not deepen the Fraser River in any meaningful way compared to the existing Massey Tunnel (which is also an immersed tube tunnel).

    “number one is false as more road space attracts more traffic and will increase present traffic flows.”

    This is an example of a propositional fallacy. It is true that more road space attracts more traffic, but you are missing the obvious fact that the proposed Massey replacement will not necessarily do this. To spell it out for you, there are three general purpose lanes in the peak direction with the current tunnel. If the 4th lane of the tunnel replacement is a bus only lane, there will be NO INCREASE in road space for general car and truck traffic in the peak direction. Thus, my first point stands until the exact lane configuration of the replacement is confirmed.

    “As for #2, the extra traffic will over power various highways”

    You claim that this will happen, but you refuse to cite sources more specific than “some people”. When your argument flies in the face of common sense and established traffic modelling (eg. more truck traffic won’t be spontaneously generated because of the addition of some lanes), you need to show sources that anyone can verify.

    Unfortunately, your comment and post history on this blog shows that you have a history of twisting or even falsifying the truth to support your agenda of, presumably, cancelling big infrastructure projects to support various rail projects for the Fraser Valley. This is genuinely sad, since the Valley definitely needs more transit connections, but one of its biggest proponents is tarnishing the entire movement with unfounded ramblings, conspiracies, and personal attacks.

    Since you seem committed to engaging in bad faith discussions with people who disagree with you, I’ll leave you to your little corner of the internet. I hope that future advocacy for “rail for the valley” will be taken up by someone who is rational and facts-based.

    Zwei replies: it is interesting how trolls keep sending email after email bitching and moaning about poor old Zwei. You lie, when its convenient and if you actually read what i post, you need a reciprocal bridge over the North Arm to provide the capacity needed to not have major gridlock on the 99.

    I wonder who pays you to do this because you are wasting much time with classic alternative facts and invented truths.

    I have had to deal with many trolls on this blog and they normally tire and go pester someone else.

    I will give you a hint, my sources work for the provincial MoT, who wanted a bridge/tunnel crossing of the North Arm as part and parcel of a new crossing.

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