The aging Massey Tunnel will be replaced with a bridge.

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fire crews battle a large wildfire north of Highway 1 east of the Yale Road West exit on Thursday, April 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Firefighters battle wildfire in Chilliwack near Hwy 1

Helicopter dropping water on large wildfire in Chilliwack near Yale Road West exit, north of highway

web
Fire breaks out inside Mission Walmart

Customers, staff evacuated as firefighters investigate

Japanese Canadian citizens being transferred into waiting trucks outside Hope Station House. NNMCC L2021-2-1-004. Photographs courtesy of the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre
Fight continues for historic Hope Station House

Ombudsman report and stop work order come alongside district’s move to remove heritage status

Lift equipment is driven away from a fire in an adjacent unit on Industrial Way in Chilliwack on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack firefighters deal with heavy smoke, extreme heat in challenging industrial fire

Crews successful in containing fire to 1 unit in industrial building, adjacent units suffer smoke damage

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

The corner of 96th Avenue and Glover Road in Fort Langley now has traffic signals, and new “touchless” signal activation buttons. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Busy Fort Langley intersection gets ‘touchless’ crosswalk signals

The new traffic light started operation in April

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A crossing guard stops traffic as students wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 arrive at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-infected students in Lower Mainland schools transmitting to 1 to 2 others: data

Eight to 13 per cent of COVID cases among students in the Lower Mainland were acquired in schools, B.C. says

Dr. Bonnie Henry – in a B.C. health order that went into effect April 12 – granted WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce workplace closures with COVID-19 spread. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
24 workplace closures being enforced in Fraser Health under new COVID-19 order

WorkSafe inspectors the power to enforce closures if COVID-19 has spread to 3 or more employees

Maple Ridge Fire and Rescue were conducting training operations at Gold Creek Falls when a firefighter broke their leg. (Eileen Robinson photo - Special to The News)
Firefighter suffers broken leg during swift water rescue practice in Golden Ears park

A training exercise at Maple Ridge waterfall on Wedesday results in mishap

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch # 91, is disappointed the Legion does not qualify for COVID financial assistance from the provincial government. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C.’s pandemic aid package passing Legion branches by

Federal non-profit status stymies provincial assistance eligibility

Most Read