B.C. Premier Christy Clark has announced the George Massey Tunnel on Highway 99 will be replaced by a bridge in 2017.
Speaking at the Union of BC Municipalities convention, Clark said construction on the new bridge connecting Richmond and Delta will be placed in the same spot as the tunnel.
Clark said the tunnel has become B.C.’s worst bottleneck and traffic congestion affects businesses and families.
“Congestion at the tunnel is frustrating for families and stalling the economy. A new bridge will improve travel times for transit, commuters and commercial users, and open the corridor up to future rapid transit options,” she said.
In March, B.C. laid out five options to replace the aging infrastructure, including upgrading the existing tunnel, building a new bridge, twinning the tunnel or building a new crossing further east of the existing tunnel.
The government consulted with the public and municipal leaders to address several issues, including traffic congestion, safety, and environmental, social and economic impacts.
More than 80,000 drivers use the tunnel every day.
PHOTO GALLERY: History of the George Massey Tunnel
Clark did not say how much the new bridge will cost, how long construction will take or whether it will be tolled.
Engineering and technical work is now underway to develop the project and associated improvements to Highway 99.
WATCH: See what the new bridge will look like
More information on the project will be available in the spring.
Video: Transportation Minister Todd Stone talks about the new bridge that will replace the aging George Massey tunnel.
With files from the Canadian Press