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.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fernie Mountain Film Festival coming to the big screen

Amateur and professional films about all things mountain related will screen at this year’s festival

District of Elkford approves bylaw authorizing $8.3 million loan

The money will be used for repaving roads in the Abruzzi Heights and Balmer Knoll subdivisions

Community gathers to grieve, learn at suicide information night

The Elk Valley Suicide Task Force hosted the first ever suicide information evening this week

Castle Project to expand Teck Coal operations

The Castle Project would be an expansion at Teck’s Fording River Operations

Community Cash Awards make their return to the Elk Valley

The program supports the development of healthy and diverse communities

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

Maggie and Tim: B.C. residential school survivor turns to faith, forgiveness in mourning son

A young man’s tragic death and his mother’s survival through hardship

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

Most Read