Your recent story on rising ferry fares (Group Doubts Sunny Forecast for Ferries, June 24, North Shore News) raises a serious question: Isn't it time to think about, to talk about, to explore the possibility of bridge and/or tunnel links from our coast to the nearby islands?
Hong Kong linked its new Chek Lap Kok Airport to Kowloon with suspension bridges, and Kowloon with Hong Kong Island via the Cross-Harbour Tunnel years ago.
Japan has linked major islands with islandhopping suspension bridges, and it has built a railway tunnel between the major islands of Honshu and Hokkaido. Both the bridges and the tunnel cross highly earthquake-endangered areas with no problems.
Denmark and Sweden are linked with the eight-kilometre "Oresund" bridge/tunnel system between Copenhagen and Malmo (using an artificial island in its middle for the change from bridge to tunnel); Denmark's Sealand and Fyn Islands are linked with mainland Jutland with suspension bridges. All carry road and rail traffic.
All these links cross major straits of the Baltic Sea.
Even Eastern Canada has done it: A bridge between New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island opened in 1997 and carries the Trans Canada Highway across the Abegweit Passage of Northumberland Strait. It's some 13 kilometres long, and tolls are only $44.25 per car, return, while trucks must add $7.25 extra per axle over two axles. Foot passengers, who are shuttled back and forth, pay only $4 return.
Just think: No more waiting at ferry docks; no more waiting because of a lack of space for over-height vehicles; no long-weekend traffic problems.
A hard link would also put an end to ferries breaking down, running into docks, and being threatened by labour disputes.
It would reduce oil consumptions, end $100-million-plus annual government subsidies, and there would be tremendous savings in time and fares for passengers.
So the technology exists around the world and in Canada.
Time to think, to consider, to explore, no?
George Tietjen West Vancouver