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

Defenceman Cullen Ferguson had a goal and an assist as the Caps took the Nanaimo Clippers into a shootout last Friday, one of three games in four days for the busy Cowichan Valley Capitals. (Citizen file)
Busy Cowichan Capitals get a look at newcomers

Caps play three games in four nights before two-week break

Items seized over four days of targeted vehicle checks Nanaimo and Victoria by members of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. (CFSEU-BC photo)
Gang enforcement team seizes drugs and weapons in Victoria and Nanaimo

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of B.C. checked 33 vehicles over four days

Cowichan Search and Rescue set up near the Silver Bridge in Duncan on Wednesday morning, Oct. 28, 2020 to rescue a dog from the Cowichan River. (Citizen file)
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are looking for help from the public to identify the driver of a vehicle after a hit and run in Duncan on Oct. 22, 2020. (File photo)
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP looking for driver after man hit in crosswalk

The hit and run is reported to have taken place on Thursday, Oct. 22

Sites are being considered for a new pipe that will see treated effluent from the Joint Utilities Board’s sewage treatment plant near Duncan diverted away from the Cowichan River and Cowichan estuary (pictured) to an outflow site in Satellite Channel. (File photo)
Possible routes identified for new Cowichan sewage pipe

Public input will be sought in decision

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

The Calgary Zoo is aiding in recovery efforts for the Vancouver Island marmot, an endangered species. Pictured here, a marmot at Mount Washington. (Black Press file)
Despite challenges, 2020 good year for Vancouver Island marmot population

In 2019, the foundation counted 60 pups; this year, it reached 46

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

The duffel bags were found to contain 84 pounds of cocaine, valued at approximately $1.2 million and 198 pounds of methamphetamine, valued at approximately $960,000. Photo courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
2 men accused of fleeing border agents near U.S.-B.C. border with $2M in drugs

Cocaine and methamphetamine seized by U.S. law enforcement in remote Idaho area near Canadian border

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers, staff by parents must stop: Chilliwack soccer club

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

FILE – The Queen of Alberni ferry leaves the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal in Delta bound for Vancouver Island, Sunday, July 29, 2007. (CP PHOTO/Richard Lam) CANADA
Mechanical failure leaves nearly 200 passengers stranded on BC Ferries ship for hours

A tug arrived after dark to safely nudge the vessel into a berth so travellers could finally disembark

Ridge Meadows RCMP (Black Press)
Maple Ridge X-ray tech convicted of sexual assault dating back 30 years

Allen James Brooks is expected to be sentenced in January 2021

Most Read