The future of the Massey Tunnel replacement is once again in the spotlight.
BC Liberal leader Kevin Falcon promised to stop the proposed eight-lane tunnel replacement if elected premier in the next election and bring back the plan for a 10-lane bridge.
The previous Liberal government had secured an environmental assessment certificate for the 10-lane, $3.5-billion bridge over the Fraser River to replace the Massey Tunnel.
If it had not been cancelled by the current government, the bridge would have opened this year.
Caught in the middle of the political debate have been the residents of Richmond and Delta, and all the others, who use the current four-lane Massey Tunnel.
“Who made them wait is the NDP who cancelled the bridge with more than 100 million already in,” Falcon said.
“I would dust off plans for the old bridge, all the work has been done.”
Falcon acknowledges the $3.5 billion price tag for the bridge has no doubt gone up since it was cancelled in 2017.
The current eight-lane new tunnel project is expected to cost $4.15 billion and open in 2030.
The tunnel has not yet completed an environmental assessment but the government expects it to be done before the scheduled provincial election in the fall of 2024.
The bridge project did pass an environmental assessment but it would have to go through the process again.
The Metro Vancouver mayors were opposed to the bridge project and have subsequently supported the NDP’s tunnel plan.
“We can talk about a bridge, but we talked to the mayors in the region who unanimously supported the project,” B.C. Municipal Affairs minister Nathan Cullen said.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie described the bridge and interchanges in the city’s proposal as a “nightmare.”
Brodie was also quick to point out that the BC Liberals lost three seats in Richmond in the 2020 election after the region was a stronghold for the region for decades.
“I don’t think this idea is a good one. To go back to the bridge. To go back to the future. To a 10-lane bridge very few want,” Brodie said.
But in response to concerns raised by the mayors, Falcon said as premier he would take a more holistic approach.
He says the project would not be tolled and would forge ahead with a bridge even without support from mayors.
“If I listened to the mayors there would be no Canada Line, no perimeter road, no Port Mann bridge, and much of the infrastructure I built when in government,” Falcon said.