The Eye of the Fish

February 7, 2018

No bridge nor tunnel

A pause for thought today : evidently the silly season is still with us. Point in case the front page of the Dom Post today – and cub reporter Julian Lee tries to argue the case for a bridge – or tunnel ! – across the Cook Strait is a viable thing. Both possible options are as silly as each other, both are physically impossible, and both would be total financial idiocy.

I’m surprised that the editor of the Dom Post did not veto the article outright, it is so ludicrously stupid, and if they are happy calling the Island Bay Cycleway a disaster, then they may want to think up some new words to describe clusterfucks of mammoth proportions.

Let’s list some of the problems, shall we?
23km wide at the narrowest point.
65km wide at a slightly more convenient juncture.
Spans between two islands, yes, but these islands also encompass two completely different continental shelves as well, with a known and highly active series of fault lines running between. Wellington is currently stuck solid at the junction between the subduction of Australia’s plate and the Pacific plate.
Massive great 8 earthquake overdue on the Southern Alps, likely to destroy all but Te Papa and the Beehive when it eventually goes bang. You really want to put a bridge over that?

Even more scary – would you really want to tunnel under that?
No, I thought not.
For a city which can’t even agree on building a much overdue better tunnel through the simple, solid mass of Mt Vic, to propose a tunnel under the Cook Strait – some of the most dangerous waters in the world, one of the deepest straits in the world, through hard, broken, brittle rock – is just sheer lunacy. Must be a brainwave thought up in last week’s super blue blood red wolf moon last week.

But the best is yet to come: what would the tunnel be for? Small, thin, fast, efficient high speed trains? No, I fear that foolish young Julian Lee is pushing for a two lane public highway each way. So, probably two tunnels needed, maybe three.

The Chunnel, a very shallow tunnel carved with ease through layers of stable sedimentary chalk, bankrupted the Channel Tunnel company and nearly bankrupted both Britain and France. This hare-brained piece of silliness would bankrupt New Zealand many times over, before it all collapsed ignominiously into the sea.

We already have a bridge. It moves from one side of the Strait to the other.

It’s called the InterIslander.

7 - 02 - 18

381 comments on stuff on this hate-brained idea. Just one word needed: No.

John Cuthbert
7 - 02 - 18

It is odd that this piece of “reporting” was published front page. I wish they would put on the bloody paywall and pay some proper journalists.

7 - 02 - 18

“Hate-brained”. Perfect for Stuff BTL.

7 - 02 - 18

I said hare-brained, honest ! Autocorrect on cell phones…

60 MPa
8 - 02 - 18

Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!

8 - 02 - 18

Ogdenville and West Haverbrook watch out! New scan underway ! We have a fresh gullible transport solution for you. Actually, I’m thinking that shooting people out of a giant cannon may well be more feasible as a safe means of transport, than a 23km bridge across this stretch of water. Certainly would be cheaper.

Andy Foster
8 - 02 - 18

Must say I did wonder if we’d skipped about two months and hit the 1st of April.
Completely ‘hate’ brained. Cannot understand why Stuff ran this when there is plenty of space for real news. Earthquake/storm etc risk of the actual crossing would be massive – how many quakes have we had in the Seddon area – let alone the big Kaikoura. I looked at a few of the contributions on Stuff thinking about how it would be fine to pay a toll of $50 or even $200. Real back of the envelope calcs – and who knows what it would would cost – I just doubled the Chunnel and took it roughly to today’s prices – if freight paid half the cost and vehicles the other half – rough toll cost to make it financially viable would be in the order of $8,500 per vehicle on those fairly herculean assumptions. I suspect that actual cost would be greater – and that doesn’t include the challenge of even getting to the coast – at either end.