Letter: New Fraser River bridge simply ‘blacktop’ politics

Editor: Beware of politicians offering $3.5 billion gifts, as they maybe mere white elephants, haunting the taxpayer for generations to come.

If one thinks that the B.C. Liberals’ new $3.5 billion bridge, replacing the perfectly good Massey Tunnel, will improve traffic congestion, one had better take off their rose-coloured glasses because, despite the hype and hoopla, all the bridge will do is move congestion about three kilometres north to the Steveston Highway.

The reason is simple math; the Arthur Lang, Oak, Knight and Queensborough bridges are at or near capacity throughout the day, and the new traffic brought by the bridge will just sit idling on Highway 99 as the larger number of cars using the new bridge will have nowhere to go and will crawl through Richmond unless another bridge is built to Burnaby/Vancouver.

Those glad-handing this project have seemed to have slept through their math classes.

As planning for this bridge is not part of a regional transportation plan, then we must accept that regional transportation and transit planning has all but come to an end in the South Fraser region.

The real reason for this bridge is again simple math.

Fraser Surrey Docks want to bring in massive tankers and colliers to load LNG, dirty bitumen oil from Alberta and even dirtier Montana coal, and these massive new ships have a much deeper draft than existing ships plying the Fraser.

So deep are these ships’ drafts that the Fraser must be dredged to a depth below the existing George Massey Tunnel.

The premier’s $3.5 billion project is in reality a massive subsidy to Fraser Surrey Docks and maybe they should pay for the bridge.

The new Fraser River Bridge is pure “B.C. blacktop” politics, which will provide pricey photo-ops at election times, for it will not bring much hoped for improvements to our regional transportation system.

D. M. Johnston,