The George Massey tunnel is one of the highest-congestion crossings in B.C. (Black Press files)

10-lane George Massey bridge too big, B.C. study says

Consultants say replacement tunnel cost similar to new bridge

The B.C. government should design a more modest replacement for the George Massey tunnel, to reduce but not eliminate congestion on the Fraser River crossing, a technical study concludes.

The B.C. NDP government last year cancelled design work on a planned 10-lane toll bridge to connect Richmond to Delta on Highway 99, longer than the Port Mann crossing for Highway 1, and commissioned the study to lay out options. They include a replacement tunnel under the river as well as smaller bridge options, but does not recommend one over the other as a replacement.

Upgrades to the existing Massey tunnel to improve winter conditions and lighting will be done while local communities are consulted further, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said in releasing the study Monday.

Trevena said she understands the frustration of people stuck in traffic each day at what has been described as the worst traffic bottleneck in the province, but the work to provide a partial or total replacement for the tunnel will take several years.

The goal is to have a business case for a new six- or eight-lane bridge or a new tunnel by the fall of 2020, Trevena said.

We’re working as fast as possible to make sure we get this right,” Trevena said.

Westmar Advisors, the consultants, found that a new tunnel could be done at similar cost to a bridge, and tunnels have continued to be used in Hong Kong and other areas around the world where earthquake risk is a concern. A new tunnel could accommodate up to eight lanes, and a separate tunnel for cyclists and pedestrians is an option.

The consultants noted that the original plan called for a toll-financed 10-lane bridge with extensive on-ramps that would prevent congestion at the Massey crossing at all hours of the day until 2045. An eight-lane bridge would still experience traffic slowdowns at peak times.

“A reduced project scope would better align with regional transportation and community planning goals, and would likely result in better project acceptance,” the consultants conclude.

The consultants considered the impact of tolls on the Port Mann crossing, estimating that if a new bridge was tolled, about 10,000 crossings per day would be diverted to the Alex Fraser bridge as drivers sought to avoid the tolls.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Child care sector feels the squeeze in Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

There are five children for every licensed child care space in the ACRD

Surfrider Pacific Rim hopes unique wetsuit recycling program stays local to the Coast

“We really want to see someone locally or regionally take this on and use this material locally.”

Residents push back against renaming Ucluelet Secondary School

“We are just fine thanks, put the money into our children’s education.”

Local businesses step up in light of Christmas tree shortage in Tofino and Ucluelet

“I’m one of those ones where I’m really tenacious and I don’t like letting people down.”

Midnight Madness shopping celebration arrives in Ucluelet

“Midnight Madness to me is so awesome because it’s locals supporting locals.”

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

BC Hydro reservoirs see record low rain across Vancouver Island

Hydro electric watersheds are at a third of their normal levels

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Coachwerks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Most Read