"If the peoples' representatives ask the people for direction, then they follow the instruction they get back from the people."
The only sensible conclusion to draw from the result was "we're not sure".
However, taking the result as an advisory vote to leave the responsible thing would have been to start a proper project, starting with a feasibility study and to take a responsible decision, based on that, as to whether to continue. In effect we're now seeing the results of that feasibility study. Would a responsible government go on to the next phase in the light of those results?