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

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

Grade 9 students at Quamichan School got to be virus detectives recently when Genome B.C.’s Geneskool Education Program visited the Cowichan school. (Cowichan Valley School District photo)
Cowichan students become virus detectives with Genome B.C.

Program even more interesting given the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic

The real estate market in the Cowichan Valley is suffering a lack of inventory making it a seller’s market. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sellers rejoice, home buyers frustrated as prices up, inventory low in Cowichan Valley

Demand for homes in the Cowichan Valley is exceeding supply, driving up… Continue reading

Open as of April 17, Mountain Man Ice Cream, at 99 South Shore Road, is run by the Robertson family including Myles and Austin Robertson, as well as Brianne Thomassen. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Sweet new business opens its doors in Lake Cowichan

Mountain Man Ice Cream, located at 99 South Shore Rd.

Vandals burned a hole in the platform at the top of the Somenos Marsh Open Air Classroom early on the morning of Thursday, April 22. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson closes Somenos Marsh viewing platform

Fletcher estimates the damage at more than $5,000.

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
AstraZeneca vaccine appointments fill up fast on Vancouver Island

More pharmacies expected to be added as supply increases

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

The Better Business Bureau is reminding people to do their research before starting any home improvement projects this spring. (Black Press Media file photo)
Don’t get scammed on home improvements, warns Better Business Bureau

Scams typically involve paying cash upfront for jobs that never get done, says BBB

The freed osprey keeps a wary eye on its rescuers after being deposited on its nest. (Photo credit: Greg Hiltz)
Hydro crew in Ashcroft gets osprey rescue call-out they won’t soon forget

Bird was tangled in baling wire hanging from a hydro pole, necessitating a tricky rescue

Auto thief in black balaclava trying to break into car with screwdriver. (Pixabay photo)
Island hikers and park users warned to keep valuables in vehicles out of sight

Spring weather draws more hikers out to rural parking lots, where thieves are at work

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks to media at the Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday February 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to announce travel restrictions today to limit COVID-19 spread

Mike Farnworth is expected to give details of what the government views as essential travel

Richard Desautel with supporters outside the courthouse in Nelson, B.C., in 2016. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
UPDATED: Sinixt, First Nation bordering Canada-U.S., can claim Indigenous rights, top court rules

The decision essentially reverses a 1956 declaration the Sinixt were extinct

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

Most Read