In February 2017, the BC Government issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate for the George Massey Tunnel Replacement project, which includes:
- Building a new 10-lane, clear span bridge over the South Arm of the Fraser River;
- Replacing the Westminster Highway, Steveston Highway and Highway 17A interchanges;
- Widening of Highway 99 between Bridgeport Road in Richmond and Highway 91 in Delta to accommodate dedicated transit/HOV lanes; and
- Decommissioning the George Massey Tunnel.
The new Provincial government has indicated that it may reconsider the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project and re-open the debate regarding project alternatives. Delta is extremely concerned about the serious detrimental implications of a postponement, or even cancellation, of the replacement bridge project.
At the July 10, 2017 Regular meeting, Delta Council endorsed the recommendations of a report which presents compelling arguments as to why the ageing George Massey Tunnel must be replaced as a matter of urgency, and why the only viable replacement crossing is a new bridge.
View full report by Chief Administrative Officer George V. Harvie regarding the Public Safety and Economic Imperative for the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.
TWINNING THE TUNNEL IS NOT AN OPTION:
- The existing tunnel cannot be sufficiently seismically upgraded (a 1-in-275 year design vs. a 1-in-2475 year design)
- A replacement tunnel is more expensive ($4.3 billion vs. $3.5 billion) with more associated risk
- A replacement tunnel is significantly more environmentally damaging than a bridge – requires an open river cut of approximately 150 metres in width, coupled with soil strengthening
- A replacement tunnel has more negative implications for air quality, agriculture, marine traffic during construction, wildlife and terrestrial habitat, and marine life and habitat
- A replacement tunnel provides less transportation efficiency and lower incident response capability
- A replacement tunnel meets fewer evaluation criteria than a bridge at a higher cost
Congestion at the George Massey Tunnel has been a long-standing issue of concern for Delta and Mayor Jackson and Council have worked tirelessly to make it a priority issue for the Provincial government. The replacement of the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge crossing will reduce the severe traffic congestion, in turn reducing collisions and increasing safety. It will also support increased transit ridership, cycling and pedestrian access, and protect the Highway 99 corridor for future rapid transit.
The George Massey Tunnel opened in 1959 and is a key component of the regional and provincial transportation system. According to 2006 data, the tunnel facilitates the passage of nearly 22,000 vehicles per lane each day, more than almost all other river crossings in the Pacific Northwest and Alberta. This volume of vehicles results in severe congestion, leading to routine queue lengths of 1.5 to 5 kilometres.
The George Massey Tunnel section has also proven to have a high rate of vehicle collisions. In a 2009 study, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure found that the tunnel section of Highway 99 had an average of 35-60 collisions per million vehicle kilometres, which is extremely high compared to the provincial average of 0.9 collisions per million vehicle kilometres.
More information is available at: www.masseytunnel.ca. The public can also email comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1.8.555.MASSEY (1 855 562-7739).
On September 20, 2013, the Premier of British Columbia announced the replacement of the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge.
Engineering and technical work is now underway for the bridge and associated Highway 99 corridor improvements with the new bridge scheduled for completion in 2022.
Reports and Related Documents
Visit the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Website for more information on this project, including the schedule, or contact:
- e: email@example.com
- Community Office and Mailing Address:
George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project
2030 - 11662 Steveston Highway
Richmond, BC V7A 1N6
Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm