Tunnel vision and seismic upgrades

This was published in the Richmond Review as “Tunnel visionback on August 7, 2013. It is just as timely now, as we enter November.

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Re: “Not all Metro Vancouver mayors back new Fraser River crossing,” July 31.

Surrey mayor Dianne Watts is right. Her reported views combine seismic upgrades and “bolstered transit” for the Massey Tunnel.

As discussed in my “Why tunnel action should start right now” column a few months ago, only the internal stage of the seismic upgrades was ever done. However, even the province’s “tunnel replacement” project accepts the value of the other stage—the external one to stabilize the ground around the tunnel and approaches.

The ongoing non-action on that second stage of seismic upgrades puts tunnel users at pointless risk every hour of every day. It was to be done eight years ago, so our MLAs and council should be able to make a compelling case that we’ve waited long enough.

The new Steveston Interchange, planned with design improvements 22 years ago, remains important too. But at this rate we’ll be waiting for another 22 years for actual action. Unless the earthquake comes first.

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