B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has issued a request for qualifications to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel.
On Wednesday (June 14), the ministry put out a call for companies interested in building the a new eight-lane immersed tube tunnel, after which the province will issue a request for proposals from a shortlist of qualified teams to select a single proponent to move forward in the procurement process.
“This is a major milestone in the project to replace the George Massey Tunnel,” Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said in a press release. “We are making significant progress on this important project that will improve travel times and transit options for people who live on both sides of the Fraser River.”
The project is currently making its way through B.C.’s environmental assessment process.
Announced in August of 2021, the new toll-free crossing be about will feature three general-purpose travel lanes and one dedicated transit lane in each direction, as well as separated bike and pedestrian pathways to support active transportation options in the region. It will be about one kilometre longer and three metres deeper than the current tunnel to accommodate double-decker buses.
The new tunnel, which will be located immediately upstream of the existing one, is expected to be operational by 2030 and cost an estimated $4.15 billion, which includes the cost of removing the current tunnel.
The project’s scope also includes replacing the existing Deas Slough Bridge and adding an additional southbound lane on Highway 99 between Westminster Highway in Richmond and Highway 17 in Delta.
Meanwhile, Highway 99 corridor improvements are already underway. A new connection for transit buses between Bridgeport Road and Highway 99 southbound opened last October, and new bus-on-shoulder lanes south of the Massey Tunnel are under construction and expected to be complete this summer.
Construction of a new five-lane interchange in Steveston is also underway and is expected to be in operation in 2025.
According to a ministry press release, the new tunnel and approaches once complete will allow traffic to flow smoothly at 80 kilometres per hour, unlike the current average of 30 kilometres per hour.
The ministry says the project will be built under a project labour agreement, similar to the Steveston Interchange, that will support local jobs, apprentices and training opportunities, as well as maximize participation of groups under-represented in the construction sector.
— with files from Aaron Hinks, Black Press Media