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Saanich Inlet Bridge


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#1 tedward

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 01:51 PM

The idea of building a bridge as an alternative the Malahat has been proposed several times on the VV forums. Connecting up-island traffic to BC Ferries and to Highway 17 would appear to make a lot of sense rather than the seemingly never-ending expansion of roads going "the long way around".

Having traveled over the floating bridges on the Hood Canal and Lake Washington earlier this year it seems to me that there are plenty of options to consider that would not have to be crazy expensive or incredible design challenges.


An old article by Ross Crockford reminds us there will always be NIMBY's but when looking at transportation planning for the whole South Island I have to wonder why this is not on the agenda. I think this and improved rail would make much more sense than continuing to expand the Malahat Drive endlessly.

 

The BC Ministry of Transportation looked at the idea in 2006 but I find their results suspect when it comes to the bridge option. They suggested over 40% preferred a "new alignment" with only 16% backing one of the four bridge options presented.  I think they need to redo that polling with people who might actually be affected by a bridge including transport operators, local residents, BC Ferry users, commuters between Victoria and points north of Mill Bay, YYJ users etc. It seems to me that a more direct route avoiding the Malahat summit would be an attractive option for a large number of potential users.


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#2 eseedhouse

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 04:10 PM

Cost aside, for which reason alone we will never see it in, my opinion, can someone explain to me how doubling the traffic going up and down the Saanich Penninsula will be anything but substituting one huge bottleneck for two small ones?  You think getting to the airport is hard now?  Just wait until the bridge goes in.



#3 Bingo

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 04:27 PM

Cost aside, for which reason alone we will never see it in, my opinion, can someone explain to me how doubling the traffic going up and down the Saanich Penninsula will be anything but substituting one huge bottleneck for two small ones?  You think getting to the airport is hard now?  Just wait until the bridge goes in.

 

I have never found getting to the airport "hard".


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#4 Mike K.

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 04:59 PM

I don't think there is anything similar to the Colwood Crawl anywhere along Highway 17. 


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#5 D.L.

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 05:11 PM

There's the "sitting on Blanshard Street approaching Saanich Road crawl"
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#6 LJ

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 06:18 PM

 

 

The BC Ministry of Transportation looked at the idea in 2006 but I find their results suspect when it comes to the bridge option. They suggested over 40% preferred a "new alignment" with only 16% backing one of the four bridge options presented.  I think they need to redo that polling with people who might actually be affected by a bridge including transport operators, local residents, BC Ferry users, commuters between Victoria and points north of Mill Bay, YYJ users etc. It seems to me that a more direct route avoiding the Malahat summit would be an attractive option for a large number of potential users.

I think they should do the polling on the ferries as well, anyone that is going up island is going to be in favour of this.


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#7 Bingo

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Posted 05 December 2013 - 07:32 PM

See also recent comments on the BC Ferries thread.



#8 tedward

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:11 AM

Cost aside, for which reason alone we will never see it in, my opinion, can someone explain to me how doubling the traffic going up and down the Saanich Penninsula will be anything but substituting one huge bottleneck for two small ones?  You think getting to the airport is hard now?  Just wait until the bridge goes in.

 

Actually it would reduce the traffic heading to the airport to and from points south. Currently 99.999% of road traffic (allowing for the occasional Mill Bay Ferry user) traveling to YYJ must approach from the south. If this was to be built a significant portion of that traffic would not have to travel the extra distance and approach from the south. It would save time and reduce carbon emissions from the extra time driving. It would also reduce ferry traffic destined for points north of the Malahat.

 

Regarding cost I fail to see why it should be prohibitive compared to any other bridging project. Is there some particularly difficult engineering problem associated with any and all potential crossing sites?


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#9 jonny

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:39 AM

Regarding cost I fail to see why it should be prohibitive compared to any other bridging project. Is there some particularly difficult engineering problem associated with any and all potential crossing sites?

 

Regarding cost, 3km or so would hardly be an earth shattering span to cover. There are all kinds of bridges 3km in length and longer. The new 2km long William R Bennett bridge in Kelowna was $150M, for a local point of reference. If a Saanich Inlet bridge was built south of the Coast Guard station, it could largely be a relatively inexpensive flat style "beam bridge" rather than a massive suspension bridge.

 

Anyway, I think a Sannich Inlet bridge is an interesting idea that should be explored further. Eliminating, or greatly reducing the importance of the Malahat, and all of the construction and operational issues that come with that highway with an alternate route, has the potential to greatly improve our region's connectivity.


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#10 lanforod

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 09:57 AM

There's the "sitting on Blanshard Street approaching Saanich Road crawl"

This 'crawl' that happens every rush hour could easily be resolved with some retuning of 6 or so traffic lights to coordinate better during that time period. Talk about frustrating. It's nearly impossible to catch a green light AND have space in front of you to proceed between 3 and 6 PM on weekdays.

I've long learned to avoid this stretch, Cook/Quadra or Shelbourne are better options.

 

I really don't see how this bridge will create a bottleneck anywhere on 17. 17 isn't at capacity going south, maybe only when a Spirit class ferry unloads. Going north can be busy, but improving 17 would be a lot easier than expanding the Malahat!



#11 ressen

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:05 AM

B.C. Ferries can then further reduce operating costs by closing Swartz Bay and using Duke Point as the only way off the South Island



#12 jonny

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:06 AM

Going north can be busy, but improving 17 would be a lot easier than expanding the Malahat!

Exactly!



#13 Nparker

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 10:27 AM

B.C. Ferries can then further reduce operating costs by closing Swartz Bay and using Duke Point as the only way off the South Island

Yeah right. :whyme:



#14 Mike K.

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 04:25 PM

The span south of YYJ would be about 6 km in length. The shortest span would originate from the Highlands or North Saanich.

A floating bridge would be a very good option and cost far less than a traditional design with pillars. I also seem to recall from some report that stated the depth of the inlet is quite significant and would pose an engineering challenge.

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#15 Bingo

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 04:43 PM

B.C. Ferries can then further reduce operating costs by closing Swartz Bay and using Duke Point as the only way off the South Island

 

:mad:



#16 eseedhouse

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 05:19 PM

Actually it would reduce the traffic heading to the airport to and from points south. Currently 99.999% of road traffic (allowing for the occasional Mill Bay Ferry user) traveling to YYJ must approach from the south. If this was to be built a significant portion of that traffic would not have to travel the extra distance and approach from the south. It would save time and reduce carbon emissions from the extra time driving. It would also reduce ferry traffic destined for points north of the Malahat.

 

Regarding cost I fail to see why it should be prohibitive compared to any other bridging project. Is there some particularly difficult engineering problem associated with any and all potential crossing sites?

 

Evidence free claims don't make persuasive arguments.  I think the number of drivers coming from up island to our airport and then going back up island would be vanishingly small.  I am prepared to be persuaded otherwise by actual verified figures, none of which you provide.



#17 LJ

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 06:27 PM

 

 

I really don't see how this bridge will create a bottleneck anywhere on 17. 17 isn't at capacity going south, maybe only when a Spirit class ferry unloads. Going north can be busy, but improving 17 would be a lot easier than expanding the Malahat!

17 isn't at capacity going south but when those ferry patrons unload off a Spirit class and proceed up island they certainly add to the crush off traffic on the TCH at rush hours.


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#18 Mike K.

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 07:21 PM

Evidence free claims don't make persuasive arguments.  I think the number of drivers coming from up island to our airport and then going back up island would be vanishingly small.  I am prepared to be persuaded otherwise by actual verified figures, none of which you provide.

On multiple occasions I've heard individuals waiting at the baggage claim who indicated they would be driving to somewhere in the Cowichan Valley. I don't think half of the passengers at the airport are from points north of the 'hat but I wouldn't surprised if 10% were.

 

At the end of the day if someone is willing to travel to Vancouver to then fly somewhere they'll also be likely to drive to YYJ and catch a direct flight off the island.


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#19 phx

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:15 PM

  I think the number of drivers coming from up island to our airport and then going back up island would be vanishingly small.

 

I think you are right as to the current situation, but the number would increase if there were a bridge.



#20 jklymak

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:37 PM

Regarding cost, 3km or so would hardly be an earth shattering span to cover. There are all kinds of bridges 3km in length and longer. The new 2km long William R Bennett bridge in Kelowna was $150M, for a local point of reference. If a Saanich Inlet bridge was built south of the Coast Guard station, it could largely be a relatively inexpensive flat style "beam bridge" rather than a massive suspension bridge.

 

Anyway, I think a Sannich Inlet bridge is an interesting idea that should be explored further. Eliminating, or greatly reducing the importance of the Malahat, and all of the construction and operational issues that come with that highway with an alternate route, has the potential to greatly improve our region's connectivity.

 

Saanich Inlet is over 200 m deep south of the airport.  I think it would be prohibitive to do anything other than a floating bridge.  Even across Satellite Channel is 60 m or so.  For comparison, Lake Washington is 65 m at its deepest, and they went for floating bridges there.  The WR Bennett bridge is apparently a floating bridge for the same reason.  

 

Floating bridges - at least those in Washington State - have been known to sink.  Don't cheap out! 



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