LETTER: Supporting the Massey Tunnel
Recent letters to the editor and comments by yourself maligning the George Massey Tunnel as being a disgrace, antiquated and inadequate requires a reply.
I arrived in Ladner after crossing the Fraser River on the Delta Princess ferry boat with my father George Massey, my first mother Doris and my sister Doreen (Kushnir) in November 1936. One of my father's first comments was, "Why isn't there a tunnel here?"
My father pursued the idea of a better means to cross the Fraser River from the time he arrived and with the support of the Ladner and Richmond communities they were able to convince the provincial government a tunnel was the best means of crossing the Fraser River.
A company called Christiani & Nielsen Corporation designed the tunnel with a capacity of 12 million automobiles per year at normal distribution, with a maxiumum capacity at any one time of about 2,500 vehicles per hour in each direction.
The tunnel currently carries 21,864 vehicles daily, which equals close to 8 million cars annually, well within it's designed capacity.
So where is the problem?
Much of the present congestion is during rush hour on the north side of the tunnel at No. 5 and Steveston Highway were they merge, with little or no storage capacity for vehicles waiting to enter Highway 99.
And as you enter Oak Street Bridge you come to a complete halt where you meet the intersection at 70th Ave.
How to improve these situations without great cost and disruption of the residential and business community?
For one you could improve the lighting by lining the tunnel with the white ceramic tile as was originally designed and re-route heavy truck traffic to the South Delta Perimeter Road as soon as it's completed.
Building the tunnel opened a door that changed Delta for better, or worse, into what it is today.
It may be considered an eyesore and derelict by some today, but if the tunnel had never opened, none of the people or the developments mentioned above would exist in Delta.
There is no question that what has taken place in Delta by the senior levels of goverment should have given the people of Delta greater consideration for their livability and the preservation of the ecosystem around them.
Building yet another bridge or tunnel across the Fraser River would not be the answer, as it would only take up more farmland on both sides of the river, do more damage to Burns Bog and not solve the real problem.
We need better planning, that does not require everyone to use their vehicles to get to work, and the senior governments to remember that people and their surroundings are as as important as the economic development that they wish to pursue.