Too Good To Be True
In Gord Henderson's Thursday column, he stated:
- "Ottawa and Queen's Park will develop terminal sticker shock over the eye-popping price tag, an estimated $759 million, for a border truck route that includes a six-kilometre tunnel."
- "The costs of constructing the tunnel, estimated to be $759-million, could easily be recovered over time"
- "We do not know the cost of a tunnel at this time. The figure quoted in the Windsor Star is an estimated baseline cost of at-grade construction.
Over the next several months, the DRIC study team will be developing the advantages and disadvantages of all the options, including cost and constructability. When this additional technical information is available, we will be able to develop an accurate cost estimate for all the alternatives, including the tunnelling option."
Why the big fuss over some numbers? There is enough disinformation and misinformation around that we do not need more. We do not need incorrect numbers to be passed off later as the real numbers to confuse the issue further.
Remember the Cansult Report that ended the Schwartz Horseshoe Road. Here is what it had to say about tunnelling to give you some idea of how low the Henderson and Star amounts are:
- "Cansult Limited 29 September 2005
In researching the concept of using Tunnel Boring Machines for the 1.3 km tunnel proposed in the Schwartz Report, the following cost estimates were identified:
• 57 km twin transportation tunnels through the Swiss Alps - $100,000,000 (US) per km;
• 4.5 km twin transportation tunnels in Dublin, Ireland - $125,000,000 (US) per km; and
• 300 m twin LRT tunnels (6 m in diameter) in Alberta - $100,000,000 (CAN) per km.
Without knowledge of the subsurface conditions along the proposed route of the truck bypass, it is not possible to develop a firm cost estimate for the tunnelling (tunnelling cost is expected to vary significantly on the basis of the diameter of the tunnel, as well as the subsurface material to be tunnelled through). Even using a conservative estimate of $100M (CAN) per km (based on the Alberta LRT tunnelling project cost), however, would yield a cost of at least $65M for a single tunnel, or $130M for a twin tunnel and potentially much higher. It is reasonable to expect the cost of construction for an urban at-grade truck bypass (including property acquisition costs) to be in the order of $10 – 15M per km. Therefore, the total cost of construction for a two tube truck bypass should be expected to cost at least $200M and, with reasonable contingencies factored in (together with the premium cost of such a short section of tunnel), could easily reach a cost of over $200M. If all three tunnels of the ultimate Schwartz-proposed tunnel were constructed, the cost of construction could easily exceed $300M.
For the same $200 - $300M expenditure for constructing a potentially short-term 8 km truck bypass, a six-lane urban at-grade freeway of anywhere between 14 – 30 km (depending upon the details of the alignment) could be constructed in a location suitable for the long-term border crossing ultimately selected by the DRIC project."
To do the math, the six kilometre cost of building a six-lane tunnel alone could exceed $1.8 billion plus several hundred million more for roads. If you throw in plaza and other infrastructure costs and bridge construction (and then double it for two sides of the river)...well my calculator overheated and exploded!
I wonder if the Governments will really Choose Tunnelling and perhaps see their budget projections Crash no matter how much one may want to Protect Windsor.