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Community Comment: Latest snow storm nothing compared to what’s coming next for commuters

The cynic in me suspects 2023 will present a whole new set of traffic problems.
george massey tunnel delta, bc side
The approach to the George Massey Tunnel.

There are a few things in life that really scare me - snakes and crocodiles – being two of those things. I’m freaked out about how they look and by the possibility of being their breakfast.

Chances are very slim that will be my demise. We live amongst squirrels, raccoons, coyotes and skunks in South Delta. A reasonably managed pack of wild animals. 

What I am really scared about going into 2023 is the George Massey Tunnel.

It all started while watching a World Cup soccer game. It was the boring England versus Senegal game and discussion turned to the recent snow storm.

That snowy night my husband was on the road for four hours trying to get home before he aborted his trip and luckily could bunk in with friends in Richmond. 

A friend in the know said, “A snow storm is the least of our worries, wait until construction begins on the new tunnel.”

I figured that was a reference to the rerouting of traffic during construction. 

No it was not. I learned that engineering firms have submitted bids to the provincial government to monitor the tunnel during construction.

“Why do they need to do that?” I asked naively.

Turns out the construction of the new tunnel has the potential to disturb the George Massey Tunnel. I had not considered that, and I bet neither have you.

It makes sense. Drilling and construction will cause movement on the Fraser River floor, resulting in stress to the existing tunnel, and in the worst case scenario, dangerous to use.  

I am reminded of the vibration I feel when a pile driver is in full swing, or an excavator taking down a house. Those vibrations are felt far and wide, so imagine that on a bigger scale under water.

Most of us are extremely dependent on the tunnel. My family certainly is, and as I speed through the tube, I hope I won’t be in it when an earthquake hits.

Up until now that’s been the biggest threat to being shut off from the rest of the Lower Mainland. Now it seems we have another worry, damage to the existing tunnel while we wait for the new tunnel.

The optimist in me trusts engineers will make sure the tunnel is safe during construction. The cynic in me suspects 2023 will present a whole new set of traffic problems.

Snakes and crocs suddenly don’t look so scary. 

Ingrid Abbott is a freelance writer who wants everyone to drive safely during the holidays.