Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Makes me go hmmm...

The Millau Bridge, crossing the River Tarn in southern France, is the highest road bridge in the world. It is almost certainly the most beautiful, stunning from every angle. Gwen and I drove across it a few years back and remain amazed by the experience. The French built viewpoints in a number of places for admiring travellers, even including large bus parking areas for tourists visiting the region to see the bridge.

The bridge opened in 2004 and, with approaches, cost $524 million ($609M in 2012 dollars). By comparison, the Port Mann bridge in British Columbia cost $3.3 billion. Yes, there are additional interchange costs here but government hides the details so nobody can excuse the cost differential, other than by pure faith.



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9 comments:

  1. I'll second your "hmmmm", Norm.
    Thanks for your sleuthing on this and other issues through the year.
    Imagine: first the prospect of a toll, re-distributes traffic around the Port Mann applying pressure to other infrastructure. Now we have to close the bridge during inclement icy weather (due to a known engineering issue) further negating use of the bridge and deflecting traffic to other routes. All this after the obscene capital cost and closure of the original bridge before it is due.
    I am increasingly convinced we have a political culture that allows private (1%) developers and other (so far) anonymous bag men full access to public funds and quasi legal contracts to facilitate their enrichment.
    Your exposure of these and other schemes is enlightening.
    Unfortunately, I am not convinced a change of political regime will significantly alter this state of affairs in the short term, i.e. the NDP will appear impotent in the face of private communication which will be made following their possible provincial election in 2013.
    Here in Victoria, we have the Blue Bridge Boondoggle and the Billion Dollar Sewage Boondoggle to contend with (irrespective of one's environmental opinion). Costs for these two projects are already out of control and real physical work has not yet begun.
    Stay tuned...
    Best wishes to you and all your readers!
    Mark B

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmmm.....the entire Panama Canal underwent a refit...$5.25 billion....you telling me a bridge to Surrey is worth 60% of that??

    ReplyDelete
  3. I drove across the Millau bridge too. A hundred times more impressive than the much more costly Port Mann bridge.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hmmm...

    The total cost of the 6-lane Alex Fraser Bridge, which opened in 1986, was $58 million.

    According to:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Fraser_Bridge

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is $107 million in today's dollars, according to the Bank of Canada inflation calculator.

      Delete
  5. So, for the price of a single, new, Gordon Campbell Bridge, they could have built 30 Alex Fraser Bridges?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. May 28, 1988, Jamie Lamb of the Vancouver Sun reported the Alex Fraser bridge cost $376 million. That would be $691 million in today's dollars.

      Delete
  6. And the Alex Fraser Bridges would be usable in winter!

    ReplyDelete

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