The aging Massey Tunnel will be replaced with a bridge.

New bridge will replace Massey Tunnel, Premier Clark says

No word on tolls but decision eliminates alignment into east Richmond



A new bridge will replace the aging George Massey Tunnel but the provincial government isn’t yet saying if the span will be tolled.

Premier Christy Clark promised construction will begin in 2017 in her speech Friday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

Clark said it’s too early to say how improved transit along Highway 99 might fit into the project or whether tolls will be required to pay for it.

If the new bridge is tolled it would join the new Port Mann, the Golden Ears, and possibly the Pattullo – where tolls are also an option to pay for replacement – as Metro Vancouver bridges that motorists must pay to cross.

The premier said the province is following the advice of the public provided in consultations that a new bridge is best, rather than another tunnel.

The province is also rejecting one controversial alignment that would have crossed the river further upstream and was strongly opposed over concern it would intensify pressure to develop farmland in east Richmond.

“People said the tunnel must be replaced and it must be replaced on the same route,” Clark told UBCM, adding the project will relieve congestion on what is now “the worst bottleneck in the Lower Mainland.”

————————————————————

————————————————————

A newly released report on public feedback found “medium” support for building a new bridge and also keeping the old tunnel.

But decommissioning the 55-year-old tunnel also offers the major advantage of allowing larger ships to sail up the Fraser River, opening up expanded port use of sites in North Delta and Surrey.

Asked if Port Metro Vancouver should contribute to the cost, Clark called that “a good idea.”

The new Port Mann Bridge itself cost $830 million, not counting about $2 billion more to expanding the highway and interchanges.

It’s not yet clear if the province intends similar upgrades along Highway 99 or how many lanes are planned for the new bridge.

But a video released by the transportation ministry depicts a large 10-lane bridge with special HOV and truck lanes.

Some transit advocates have previously said they fear the new bridge will come at the cost of more transit and SFU City Program director Gordon Price predicted Friday it will add more pressure to develop farmland.

Engineering and technical work is underway to develop a project scope and business case for the new bridge and associated Highway 99 corridor upgrades, to be made public next spring.

Meanwhile, the transportation ministry plans to immediately lengthen the Steveston off-ramp at the north end of the tunnel to improve safety and ease traffic congestion there.

The announcement was applauded by Delta mayor Lois Jackson and the B.C. Trucking Association.

Clark first pledged to begin studying options to replace the tunnel at last year’s UBCM convention. The province says the tunnel has about 10 years of useful life left.

Just Posted

B.C. dairy farmers say milk cup is half full in new Canada Food Guide

Despite what seems like a demotion, B.C. Dairy Association insists its inclusion is still integral

Sewage fees going up 10% in Harrison Hot Springs

Residential homes will pay $22.50 more in 2019 to flush their toilets

Origami-inspired art lights up Chilliwack art gallery

Chilliwack textile sculpture artist Sylvie Roussel-Jannsens presents Whole, a solo exhibition

Missing Chilliwack man last seen on Island 22

Paul James Braumberger, 66, hasn’t been heard from since Jan. 11

AESS senior girls eyeing spot in basketball provincials

The team needs to move up one more ranking get a place in the championships

VIDEO: Harrison sailor looking for competitors to race model boats

Bernhard Van Velze is hoping to create a club for model sailboats at Harrison Lake

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

South Surrey mother ‘never called 911’ after killing daughter, court hears

Crown submits evidence shows Lisa Batstone wanted eight-year-old Teagan to die

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Heavy snowfall expected for Coquihalla, Okanagan valley

Coquihalla highway, the Connector, and Highway 3, from Princeton to Allison Pass are getting snow.

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Video: Runaway Coquihalla dog returned to owner

Archer, the dog found roaming along Coq. Hwy. on Jan. 19, has been reunited with owner

Most Read