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Massey Bridge will remove “worst traffic bottleneck in B.C.”: Transportation Minister

WATCH: Metro Vancouver mayors are officially rejecting plans for a ten-lane bridge to replace the Massey tunnel. But will it matter to Victoria?

The Chair of the Metro Vancouver Board says a 10-lane, $3.5 billion bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel cannot be justified.

Greg Moore says the Provincial Government’s proposal is an expansion of car oriented infrastructure and diverts crucial funds from projects that support compact, transit oriented development.

Moore says, “history has demonstrated the world over, you can’t reduce congestion by simply building more roads.”

An impact assessment released by Metro Vancouver identifies concerns including:

  • Insufficient consideration of alternatives to a ten lane bridge.
  • Ecological disruption to the Fraser River estuary and Deas Island Regional Park.
  • Lack of integration into the regional transportation network.

Moore says Metro Vancouver is sending a letter to Transportation Minister Todd Stone urging the province to develop viable alternatives to the bridge.

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Stone said in a statement today that the tunnel is “nearing the end of its life and is an impediment to safe, efficient movement of traffic through the area – it needs to be replaced.”

Stone went on to say that the tunnel has roughly 10 years left before major components like lighting, ventilation and pumping systems need to be upgraded. And he pointed out that in 2008, some seismic upgrades were done but were advised that there was a risk the tunnel could be damaged and unusable if additional upgrades were made.

WATCH: Premier Christy Clark addresses the $3.5 billion bridge plan to replace the Massey Tunnel after Metro Vancouver mayors said that the expense cannot be justified 
‘There is a vital safety issue in the Massey Tunnel’: Clark
‘There is a vital safety issue in the Massey Tunnel’: Clark

“Safety is the primary reason for why we need to replace the tunnel and replace it soon. But replacing it also brings a number of other benefits. Every day, thousands of transit users, truckers and drivers commute along Highway 99 through the George Massey Tunnel during rush hour. Each of those drivers lose an average of 30 minutes a day – over four hours a week – as their vehicles churn out tons of harmful greenhouse emissions, while they idle in long queues,” Stone said.

“A bridge will remove what is currently the worst traffic bottleneck in B.C. and eliminate over one million hours of vehicle idling each year – improving air quality in the region and cutting down on the greenhouse emissions churned out by the idling cars.”

Stone said the project will include 200 kilometres of new highway to improve congestion and bridge construction will start next year with completion in 2022.

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WATCH: Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore shares concerns about Massey Tunnel replacement 
Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore on Massey Tunnel replacement
Metro Vancouver chair Greg Moore on Massey Tunnel replacement