Preferred option for Massey Tunnel replacement chosen

Both options include the closure of the existing tunnel

A tunnel project would have an estimated three-year environmental review and require five years of construction | Photo: Sandor Gyarmati

The business case for the preferred option to replace the George Massey Tunnel is expected in the coming days.

That’s according to the Ministry of Transportation, which notes once it has been received, cabinet will take the time necessary to do a thorough review.

The ministry earlier this year unveiled two replacement options, one being an immersed eight-lane tunnel and the other being a long-span bridge with the same number of lanes. Both would have dedicated transit lanes.

Last year, a task force of Metro Vancouver mayors endorsed an eight-lane immersed tunnel proposal, but the provincial government has the final say.

During this year’s provincial election, Delta South New Democrat candidate Bruce Reid told the Optimist that while plans haven’t been finalized, all the information that he’d been able to gather indicated that “it's 95 per cent” the new tunnel option would likely be selected.

Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon also pledged an NDP government would get a new crossing built quickly.

The opposition Liberals said last week that they’re raising further concerns about what they’re calling the NDP’s mismanagement of the replacement after newly-appointed Transportation Minister Rob Fleming failed to confirm whether a replacement of any kind will be built within the next decade.

The business case has not been made public and during the provincial election campaign, the NDP also promised that federal funding would be in place by the end of this year, say the Liberals, adding there have been no updates on the status of that funding.

“Commuters in Delta and other communities south of the Fraser have been waiting years for a replacement to the congested and seismically-unsafe Massey Tunnel,” said Delta South Liberal MLA Ian Paton. “It is extremely concerning that after making more promises to my community during the election, all signs point to the NDP further delaying this project. A Massey Tunnel replacement is long overdue, and it is time for this government to honour its commitments to this region.”

The Green-backed New Democrat government, after the previous provincial election, announced the previous Liberal government’s George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project was cancelled.

It was a new 10-lane bridge project with associated highway works, a project that had gotten underway just prior to the last provincial election and scheduled for completion in 2022.

In the interim, $40 million in safety improvements are now underway inside the existing aging tunnel.

That project is scheduled to be complete by spring 2021.

The tunnel is to be decommissioned when a crossing is built.

Richmond News