When Mayor Jim Watson introduced his idea of a truck tunnel, most people thought he wasn’t serious.
Primarily Watson but other Ottawa-area politicians as well had succumbed to the powerful interests of Rockcliffe and Manor Park to reject very quickly the results of a National Capital Commission study that supported a cross-border bridge at Kettle Island.
Remember the NCC studied the idea. Watson just pulled his idea out of a hat.
Watson, with a tenuous grasp on administration, threw away a chance to build an iconic bridge that would get trucks carrying dangerous loads out of downtown. Price tag: $1 billion.
Photo above: a truck winding through downtown Ottawa.
The truck tunnel was perceived as a way to get himself out of a sticky political situation: essentially choosing the will of Rockcliffe and Manor Park residents over those in Lowertown who are besieged by heavy trucks using the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge to Gatineau.
The truck tunnel wouldn’t bother anyone politically which is the prime directive for Watson. So that was the way he could extricate himself from a sticky wicket. Most people didn’t think he was serious. The study would be studied and then it would fade away. Sticky wicket gone.
Except that Watson is serious. The mayor even went to transportation committee (Watson is not a member) last week to crack the whip on some grumbling committee members (a few Watson supporters) who are very dubious about this plan. However as good little doobies do, committee members empowered His Worship to seek funds for this endeavour. Truck tunnel price: $2 billion.
Who could believe it? He’s serious about building a truck tunnel under downtown at a price double that of the nixed Kettle Island bridge.
The point of building a new route across the Ottawa River is to get dangerous trucks out of downtown. You know, the ones carrying loads such as propane or gasoline. Have a gasoline truck turn over and the fuel spill into the sewer system and then a spark. It’s happened in other locales.
Unfortunately, Watson in his snap decision didn’t take into account that tunnels and dangerous goods don’t mix. So now we are told dangerous goods won’t be going through the tunnel.
That’s good but the point of getting trucks out of downtown is to get dangerous loads out of the core. Now trucks won’t use the tunnel.
So we don’t solve the problem.
And we don’t solve the problem at a cost of $2 billion.
Don’t we have a better use for $2 billion? Say light rail to Kanata?
And the accumulated municipal debt is said to have passed $2 billion.
The rationale for the truck tunnel, the cost of the truck tunnel and the truck tunnel’s effect on Ottawa’s debt are out of control.
The city’s financial welfare is being sacrificed to the ineffective and silly idea.
Back to The Bulldog’s home page, click here.
To comment on this post, use the reply box at the bottom of this page.
To get the finest in Canadian news and opinion, click here for Bulldog Canadian.
For The Bulldog’s detailed Ottawa 7-Day Forecast and Weather Alerts, click here.