The B.C. government has announced the aging George Massey Tunnel will be replaced with a 10-lane toll bridge. The price of the tolls has not yet been announced.
The new bridge will be built at the same location as the tunnel and is expected to cost $3.5 billion. It will have one transit/HOV lane and four lanes for general traffic in each direction.
The province also considered an eight-lane bridge, with one transit/HOV lane and three lanes for general traffic in each direction, but found the bigger bridge would be a better value overall.
Traffic through the tunnel will continue while the new bridge is under construction.
“The new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel will improve highway safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from unnecessary idling, and save rush-hour commuters up to 30 minutes a day,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister, Todd Stone. “This will be the largest bridge ever built in B.C. When completed, it will address what is now the worst traffic bottleneck in the province and bring travel time reliability to one of our most important transportation corridors, serving national, provincial and regional economies.”
The province estimates the average commuter will save about 25 to 35 minutes a day using this new toll bridge.
“A new 10-lane bridge will reduce the congestion that commuters currently face each day, and offer long-term options for transportation improvements in the region, like the addition of future rapid transit,” said Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “The environmental benefits are also important to Delta residents, who will enjoy improved access to riverside parkland and regional cycling and walking trails.”
In 2013, Premier Christy Clark promised the tunnel would be replaced with a new bridge.
The province hopes to begin construction on the replacement in 2017 and finish in 2022.
Other parts of the project include new interchanges at Highway 17A, Steveston Highway and Westminster Highway. In addition, approximately 24 kilometres of Highway 99 will be widened to include a dedicated transit/HOV lane in each direction, from Highway 91 in Delta to Bridgeport Road in Richmond.
The third phase of public consultation on the project began today, and is underway through Jan. 28, 2016. More details on how to participate are available at www.masseytunnel.ca. Following completion of Phase 3 consultation, the ministry will finalize the project and submit the application for environmental review.
PHOTO GALLERY: History of the George Massey Tunnel
WATCH: See what the new bridge will look like
WATCH: Building the George Massey Tunnel (part 1):
WATCH: Building the George Massey Tunnel (part 2):