Report hints 10-lane bridge to replace Massey Tunnel is dead in the water

Rendering of proposed Massey Bridge.
Rendering of proposed Massey Bridge. Government of B.C.

The dream of a 10-lane bridge to replace the aging and congested Massey Tunnel may be dead.

That’s the suggestion contained in a report to Richmond city council that was tabled on Nov. 15, that details a meeting between Transportation Minister Claire Trevena and the newly-elected council.

“Given that the previous project was cancelled, the minister advised that any future crossing improvement option would not include a 10-lane bridge,” the report read.

READ MORE: B.C. government orders independent review of George Massey Tunnel replacement

“The ministry recognizes the significant negative impacts that the scale of such a project would have on the host communities, particularly for Richmond.”

The future of the crossing has been in question since the NDP government hit “pause” on the project soon after coming to power in 2017.

Story continues below advertisement

The former BC Liberal government had already started preparatory work on the bridge, and spent about $70 million.

LISTEN: Plans to replace the Massey Tunnel with a 10-lane bridge may be dead in the water.

WATCH: (Aired Sept. 19, 2018) Liberal MLA demands decision on congested Massey tunnel crossing

Click to play video 'Liberal MLA demands decision on congested Massey tunnel crossing' Liberal MLA demands decision on congested Massey tunnel crossing
Liberal MLA demands decision on congested Massey tunnel crossing – Sep 19, 2018

Trevena commissioned an independent technical report on the crossing, which was received by the ministry in June but has not been released publicly.

Story continues below advertisement

The government has said it would be made public in by the end of 2018.

That review is expected to provide a list of potential crossing improvement options and an eye into the process that led to the proposed 10-lane bridge.

Richmond has strongly opposed the construction of a large bridge, and has been supported by most other Metro Vancouver municipalities.

READ MORE: City of Delta report says province could shave $1B from bridge to replace Massey Tunnel

However Delta has argued that a new crossing is urgently needed, and the Massey Tunnel is frequently cited as the region’s worst traffic bottleneck.

In a statement to Global News, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said “In September 2017, Minister Trevena put the previously proposed 10-lane Massey replacement bridge on pause, responding to significant concerns from Metro Vancouver Mayors and people in the area.

Stan Cowdell was retained to undertake an independent review of the project, and look at options available for this corridor. The Minister’s goal is to determine the best solutions to the gridlock for people who live, work and travel in the region. The Minister received the report in June, and it is under consideration along with options for next steps.

Minister Trevena is discussing its findings with Metro Mayors before making the independent review – and government’s next steps – public before the end of the year.”

Story continues below advertisement

The cost to replace the aging tunnel with a 10-lane bridge has been pegged at $3.5 billion, however a report to Delta council last year found that a competing bid for the project indicated that the work could be done for $2.6 billion.