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I don't think anyone is arguing if it would be technically possible - engineering solutions exist for almost anything these days - it's just that it wouldn't be a financially reasonable project.


A fun fact is that Ohio DOT did have preliminary plans for a cross-lake interstate to connect Cleveland to London back in the 1970's, as it's a much shallower lake and could be done with a Lake Pontchartrain causeway type project. It obviously didn't go anywhere at the time.

I'm surprised they went with a causeway idea rather than a tunnel. I would assume ice / ice flows in the winter would make this annoying, plus you need a higher section somewhere for ships to cross unlike Lake Pontchartrain. I guess you could also do tunnel/bridge hybrid but that adds complexity.

This connection would be a fun nice-to-have, but nothing more.
 
I'm surprised they went with a causeway idea rather than a tunnel. I would assume ice / ice flows in the winter would make this annoying, plus you need a higher section somewhere for ships to cross unlike Lake Pontchartrain. I guess you could also do tunnel/bridge hybrid but that adds complexity.

This connection would be a fun nice-to-have, but nothing more.
I assume it would have been functionally a 4-lane version of the Confederation Bridge. The biggest issue I would have seen would have been lake-effect snow on it.

It was planned at a time when Cleveland was still one of the largest cities in the US and before the rust-belt decline. It would have made more sense if Cleveland had stayed in it's position as a major US metro area... but even then it would have been pretty terrible ecologically and London's relatively small size would have made it rather pointless. It's likely a product of the 1950's-1970's maximalist highway planning schemes and was never really all that serious of a proposal. But it was considered.
 
Based on the Norway tender value, a straight line between Toronto and St. Catharines would be around $10B. Not cheap, but not an unusually high figure for a highway project either, particularly when you can avoid large amounts of land acquisition.
Where are you getting that number from?

That is far too low of an estimate for an experimental technology running for such a long distance. From the info I found, it would seem the estimated cost for the construction for roughly 3.7km of submerged floating tunnel currently being assessed for Sognefjord in Norway was estimated to be $25B USD in 2019/2020, resulting in an estimated rate of $6.76B USD/km. Taking that number and applying it to the ~52km straight line across Lake Ontario from Toronto to St. Catharines (hypothetically connecting from the Gardiner Expressway just west of Ovo Athletic Centre, to the QEW/406 interchange in St. Catherine's) would result in a whopping $351.5B USD total cost at the very least, not considering additional crazy and ridiculous engineering challenges for having a crossing that long.

The "submerged floating tunnel" is ultimately a concept and appears that it will remain that way for the time being. For the Norway E39 Project, from what I can tell, the submerged tunnel was not ultimately the chosen concept for two of the three fjords that it was initially being proposed at - Sulafjord was ultimately changed to a ~4km bridge option, Bjørnafjord is also now a ~5km floating bridge, and as far as I can tell, no final decisions have been made for ~3.7km Sognefjord yet. However, based on the decisions that were made for the other two crossings, it is highly unlikely that there will be any submerged floating tunnels built, considering there were also multiple bridge options proposed for that crossing. Being able to daydream of an unrealized transportation concept is fun, but at the end of the day, the most practical and utilitarian engineering solutions are most often those that build on or innovate with technology that already exists and works, not something that exists only in renderings and is only purpose is to build hype (looking at you too, Hyperloop).
 
Where are you getting that number from?

Hah. You're right. The tender I read was a different tunnel (bored through rock) within the same roadway project.

Still, I'm as happy to throw some tech-misdirection at a Mid-Peninsula revival as Musk was to throw out Hyperloop as an attempt to scuttle the California HSR project.
 
Hah. You're right. The tender I read was a different tunnel (bored through rock) within the same roadway project.

Still, I'm as happy to throw some tech-misdirection at a Mid-Peninsula revival as Musk was to throw out Hyperloop as an attempt to scuttle the California HSR project.
No need too. Even MTO wrote off the Mid-Penn as overkill. It's dead.
 
No need too. Even MTO wrote off the Mid-Penn as overkill. It's dead.
Moving away from the mid-pen, I’m curious as to the degree which the MTO actually looks at simply upgrading rail in their ‘upgrade’ evaluations. I can’t imagine the cost to add a track to much of CN’s line, or even just strategic passing tracks, is that much more than widening the QEW- especially if it involves modifying or upgrading the Burlington Skyway or the Canal bridge.

In essence, to what extent do we explore the marginal benefit of rail upgrades? I’m wondering what the outlook is particularly if we preclude other major enabling capital projects (Bayview Jct, Welland Canal, etc) that MTO probably wouldn’t entertain. I imagine the potential traffic offset of true hourly-or-better service to St Catharines is better than what exists (or is planned) today.
 
I am curious to know how depth of tunnel makes it more expensive. In case of a bridge, deeper the waters, taller the columns. But a tunnel;s cross section is the same irrespective of depth. Also the tunnel will be 10-20 meters below the lake bed, so the soil/earth above it will take the pressure of the water above and the tunnel won't have to worry about that pressure.

1) a deeper tunnel will need a longer ramp to get up to the surface.

2) deeper tunnels have to deal with additional pressure of all the weight sitting above it
 
Moving away from the mid-pen, I’m curious as to the degree which the MTO actually looks at simply upgrading rail in their ‘upgrade’ evaluations. I can’t imagine the cost to add a track to much of CN’s line, or even just strategic passing tracks, is that much more than widening the QEW- especially if it involves modifying or upgrading the Burlington Skyway or the Canal bridge.

In essence, to what extent do we explore the marginal benefit of rail upgrades? I’m wondering what the outlook is particularly if we preclude other major enabling capital projects (Bayview Jct, Welland Canal, etc) that MTO probably wouldn’t entertain. I imagine the potential traffic offset of true hourly-or-better service to St Catharines is better than what exists (or is planned) today.
MTO looks at transit improvements - though their traffic modelling systems usually still project traffic growth even with strong transit investment.

The highway 413 study for example assumes full buildout of the RER network and a wide variety of transit improvments. It even goes as far to identify that tranist improvements should be prioritized first, however even with improvements the corridor is still necessary.


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With regards to Niagara GO service - The GO business case for the Niagara extension identifies about 9,000 average daily trips with 30 minute service to St Catharines and hourly to Niagara Falls. Assuming 1.3 people per car, that's about 7,000 daily car trips. A decent number for sure, but the QEW generally carries between 100,000 and 130,000 cars daily west of the 406, jumping to up to 160,000 during the summer. Transit helps a bit, but not enough to offset eventual capacity expansion needs on the highway network.

Widening a 6-lane highway to a 10-lane highway (like the 400 and 401 are undergoing and the QEW through Niagara is planned for) adds capacity for about 100,000 extra daily vehicle trips comparatively, with each additional lane generally being able to accommodate about 50,000 daily vehicles. In the case of the QEW in Niagara, widening it to 8 lanes from Hamilton to the 406 would actually be very affordable from my understanding as well as the existing bridges on the corridor are designed for it. It's literally just paving the extra platform width.
 
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MTO looks at transit improvements - though their traffic modelling systems usually still project traffic growth even with strong transit investment.

The highway 413 study for example assumes full buildout of the RER network and a wide variety of transit improvments. It even goes as far to identify that tranist improvements should be prioritized first, however even with improvements the corridor is still necessary.




With regards to Niagara GO service - The GO business case for the Niagara extension identifies about 9,000 average daily trips with 30 minute service to St Catharines and hourly to Niagara Falls. Assuming 1.3 people per car, that's about 7,000 daily car trips. A decent number for sure, but the QEW generally carries between 100,000 and 130,000 cars daily west of the 406, jumping to up to 160,000 during the summer. Transit helps a bit, but not enough to offset eventual capacity expansion needs on the highway network.

Widening a 6-lane highway to a 10-lane highway (like the 400 and 401 are undergoing and the QEW through Niagara is planned for) adds capacity for about 100,000 extra daily vehicle trips comparatively, with each additional lane generally being able to accommodate about 50,000 daily vehicles.
Should the takeaway from those projections be that most auto travel starts/ends outside of Niagara then? Or at least, most origins/destinations aren’t along the QEW itself. That would make sense, but I’m surprised at the magnitude of difference between GO ridership projections and automobile traffic. It seems GO wouldn’t be able to penetrate the demand at all.

In regards to the 413, I like to imagine seperate transportation systems have their own distinct needs/pressures, so even in a transit-rich world highway projects will still be necessary so long as there is high network usage and economic growth, which will necessarily utilize any available infrastructure (this applies to any mode in my mind). With that I can understand the need for the 413 someday; the issue seems to boil down to whether doing so in the near term is providing infrastructure before it is absolutely necessary. That is what creates the “induced demand” effect, by directing future demand wherever the pre-existing demand is less than the capacity provided.

I suppose this channelized belief is at odds with what I was hoping for in the Niagara case, but perhaps it is more applicable only when there is no easy transportation alternative. Widening highways seems to be more fine-tuned to demand/capacity needs than new corridors at least.
 
Should the takeaway from those projections be that most auto travel starts/ends outside of Niagara then? Or at least, most origins/destinations aren’t along the QEW itself. That would make sense, but I’m surprised at the magnitude of difference between GO ridership projections and automobile traffic. It seems GO wouldn’t be able to penetrate the demand at all.

In regards to the 413, I like to imagine seperate transportation systems have their own distinct needs/pressures, so even in a transit-rich world highway projects will still be necessary so long as there is high network usage and economic growth, which will necessarily utilize any available infrastructure (this applies to any mode in my mind). With that I can understand the need for the 413 someday; the issue seems to boil down to whether doing so in the near term is providing infrastructure before it is absolutely necessary. That is what creates the “induced demand” effect, by directing future demand wherever the pre-existing demand is less than the capacity provided.

I suppose this channelized belief is at odds with what I was hoping for in the Niagara case, but perhaps it is more applicable only when there is no easy transportation alternative. Widening highways seems to be more fine-tuned to demand/capacity needs than new corridors at least.
GO can definitely help, particularly with tourism-based traffic, as we have seen. Niagara weekend trains have gone a long way to boost travel to Niagara in a way that doesn't effect the QEW.

It's much less useful at getting people from Welland to their job on the Hamilton Mountian, though, for example. And ultimately that is the vast majority of traffic on the corridor. It's why it's important to try to focus employment close to transit as much as possible.

Ultimately demand on the QEW is far too diverse in terms of destination-origin pairs for transit to replace a significant chunk of the traffic.

With border traffic levels at what they are, probably close to 20,000 of those daily cars aren't even originating or ending their trips in Canada, yet alone starting and ending in places served by GO.

The amount of trips on the QEW coming from Downtown Toronto (or within a few Kms of the Lakeshore West GO line) is a small fraction of total demand on the corridor.
 
With regards to Niagara GO service - The GO business case for the Niagara extension identifies about 9,000 average daily trips with 30 minute service to St Catharines and hourly to Niagara Falls. Assuming 1.3 people per car, that's about 7,000 daily car trips. A decent number for sure, but the QEW generally carries between 100,000 and 130,000 cars daily west of the 406, jumping to up to 160,000 during the summer. Transit helps a bit, but not enough to offset eventual capacity expansion needs on the highway network.
It's hard to plan for, but highway transportation is ripe for disruption with vehicle autonomy. We could dramatically increase peak highway capacity by utilizing small minibus autonomous vehicles that could be used for point to point service and even drop off people door to door. Put 8-12 passengers in a business class seating F350-style van and you could absorb a lot of commuting demand, especially if coupled with decongested true HOV lanes (if not appropriate tolling).
 
If anyone can answer. I've always wondered why in B.C., quebec and the US on its interstates the pavement on bridges uses a concrete road surface but in ontario the MTO uses asphalt on bridges. Why the difference one must be better for safety so I would assume that the standard would be universal.
 
Based on the Norway tender value, a straight line between Toronto and St. Catharines would be around $10B. Not cheap, but not an unusually high figure for a highway project either, particularly when you can avoid large amounts of land acquisition.
If you can also include a rail connection as part of that infrastructure package, I think that would definitely be worth it. A direct rail connection between St. Catharines and Oakville would be huge, especially given that it could service GO, VIA, and Amtrak.
 
If anyone can answer. I've always wondered why in B.C., quebec and the US on its interstates the pavement on bridges uses a concrete road surface but in ontario the MTO uses asphalt on bridges. Why the difference one must be better for safety so I would assume that the standard would be universal.

Asphalt bridge surfaces are easier to repair/replace unless you want to get to the actual structure- you gotta remove the asphalt first. It's a smoother ride and can expand/contract better with freeze/thaw cycles. Sure the whole bridge experiences that too but the surface is going to experience it the most. Concrete is more rigid.

I don't think there's any wrong answer, just 2 standards on doing things.
 

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