A new, $4.15 billion eight-lane tunnel will replace the aging George Massey crossing.
That’s the news announced this morning by the B.C. government at a technical briefing for media.
The new tunnel is expected to be built by 2030, replacing the Massey Tunnel, which was constructed in 1959.
Construction is expected to begin in 2025 after a three and a half year environmental assessment.
More details on the source of the funding are expected later this morning at the press conference at Richmond City Hall, hosted by all three levels of government.
After reviewing its business case looking at either building an eight-lane bridge or an eight-lane tunnel, the province has gone with the latter to replace the current four-lane tunnel.
This was the option preferred by the Metro Vancouver Task Force which included Richmond mayor Malcolm Brodie, Delta mayor George Harvie and First Nations leaders.
The new tunnel will include three lanes for traffic and a rapid transit lane each way as well as a five-metre-wide two-directional cycle lane.
Commute times from Westminster Highway to Highway 17 interchange will be reduced from 25.5 minutes to 7.5 minutes, according to the ministry of transportation.
But the province has decided future rail is not warranted for this transportation corridor and rather the focus will remain on rapid transit.
Construction on the tunnel will begin in 2025 – in the meantime, improvements are being made to the Steveston interchange and other peripheral projects.
The current tunnel doesn’t meet current seismic standards and will be decommissioned, although previously the province considered keeping it as a utility corridor.
It will be decommissioned after the new tunnel is built.