More Interesting Letters To The BLOGmeister
1) NOTE. I found a photo of what our newest sculpture parks in Windsor might look like if we followed the Mercer Island model. According to Henderson, "The Schwartz proposal, which involves eight to nine tunnel sections of varying lengths...The role model is Mercer Island."
2) I just need to know....
How many corporations has Eddie set up during his tenure that he is either the CEO of or head of the board.
It seems to me that a lot of comittees have been set up and guess who is at the head of it?
Or is it just my imagination?
3) Sam Schwartz in 2005 argued that the route only needed 4 lanes, not 6 - so he is simply sticking to his guns on that one. The DRIC by the way, does not dispute this fact, only that they are designing for the 25 year forecasts, which by 2030 they expect 6 lanes will be needed. So Sam is going to use a much more short-sighted forecast and short-term traffic modeling scenario to propose basically the bare minimum. What do we do in 25 years? Sam, Eddie and company will all be long gone.
So - if Sam is reverting to his "4-lanes only are needed" argument then the tunnel becomes much smaller, ergo the price drops and unless people are wary that it is oranges being compared to apples, they will trumpet the DRIC's tunnel costs as being inflated.
How can you construct a tunnel without impacting the residents along the route and/or routing traffic onto EC Row in the interim? Boring of course. Is boring feasible in this area of the world - absolutely not (I will get to Henderson's comments later) - but hey, why let engineering reality get in the way of conceptual fantasy?
Can you find bores big enough for a 4-lane tunnel? No - the biggest in North America are 40' in diameter, barely large enough to fit two truck lanes. You would need three bores then - one for each direction of traffic, and one for the mechanical work i.e. service shafts, ventilation ducts, emergency access etc. THREE BORES.
A single boring machine costs $50-$100 million depending on the size. If you try to go cheap and buy only one boring machine to do the work you will then be tripling your construction time... so the tunnel that might take 2 to 3 years to build using cut and cover now could take 6 to 9 years (or likely much longer)? Talk about a make-work project...
And given all of Sam's trips to Windsor the past two years, what tunnel has he probably seen the most driving to and from Detroit Metro airport to Windsor? Why the wonderful sets of tunnels on the airport service drive that have runways over top - the tunnels with giant fans at the top blowing the air out the ends (but not cleaning them).
What intersection in particular is the biggest political hot potato? The Cabana/Todd/Huron Church intersection with Oakwood school a stone's throw away and the Springgarden ANSI on the other side. The parents from that school were amongst the most vocal and active last year. So let's make them completely happy by proposing not just a tunnel for trucks, but a SECOND tunnel for Cabana and Todd Lane traffic! Then you can show wonderful pictures of kids skipping off across the new parkette to hikes in the ANSI. Wonderful! Now the Oakwood School parents can turn their venom on the DRIC proposal with umpteen letters to the editor.
Finally that leads us to how can we stop the twinning? You can't. But you can make the Bridge's business case for it much much worse. Not only will you block any kind of improved access route to the bridge (either Huron Church improvements or Walts road) you can actually make the existing access route worse. Make it so trucks will go anywhere but up Huron Church north of EC Row.
Henderson's column today is really maddening. A rail tunnel is usually no more than 24' in diameter and certainly no where near big enough for 6 lanes of truck traffic. Boring through rock (mountains) is exponentially easier than boring through soup. The area where Henderson, Marra, Baggio, Teshuba et al want to bore a tunnel was created by silt deposits - it is the lowest area in the entire county. It has the highest water table in the county. To get to bedrock you would need to bore over 50-60m down - ridiculous. To bore through the silt and water table would require massive dewatering technology and would be impossibly slow - you'd have to bore a couple of metres and immediately put up the tunnel behind to prevent it from being caved in or filling in. Ludicrous.
In the end they are only doing a serious disservice to the city because there is no way you can convince taxpayers in the rest of the province that they should spend umpteen billions of dollars to build a tunnel in Windsor, a community of 200,000 when there are 5-6 million people in the GTA with congestion issues of their own. So all Henderson and company are doing is priming the city to waste years and millions of dollars fighting a worthless fight. Enough already.
4) I read in my Windsor Star that councillor Bill and columnist Gord want a truck tunnel. They look to the Swiss for inspiration and cost figures. Switzerland is an Alpine country. Their tunnels are built through mountains, the Alps, not under flat ground.
If we want the government to build Windsor a tunnel, maybe we need a mountain.
Toronto and other cities have tons of garbage to get rid of. Instead of dumping trash in landfills, let's think big, just like the mayor and his New York traffic guru. Here's my plan.
1. Divert all traffic including trucks from Highway 401 to the EC Row Expressway. No vehicles on Talbot Road.
2. Convince Toronto, London and anyone else that their garbage is welcome in Windsor. No dumping fees. We need a mountain!
3. All trash will be dumped in the middle of Talbot Road halfway between the Highway 401 exit and Huron Church Road.
4. As the garbage piles up, giant mashers will tamp it down. Spray painters coat the trash the colour of Alpine Mountains.
5. In about the same length of time it takes to decide where a new bridge and access roads will go, the mountain will take shape. In about 4 or 5 years we've got a mountain right here in Windsor!
6. Swiss workers are brought over along with their giant boring machines. Tunnel construction begins.
7. Traffic starts flowing through our new mountain in 6 to 12 months. Everyone is happy. The site for a new bridge might be announced several years later.
The nice thing about this is we might not even need the feds or the province to pay for it. New arenas aren't supposed to cause taxes to rise, why should our
made in Windsor mountain and tunnel?