City of Delta frustrated over lack of second overpass for new Massey Tunnel

Motorists exit the George Massey Tunnel in Richmond, B.C., Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Drivers may be in for some sticker shock when it comes time to renew their auto insurance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck. DD

The City of Delta has sent a letter to the provincial government asking for the Massey Tunnel replacement to include an overpass connecting River Road.

Delta city councilor Dylan Kruger, currently acting as the community’s mayor, said there is disappointment the crucial piece of infrastructure has been left out of the replacement planning.

Currently, the plans would allow drivers to exit Highway 99 on to River Road after getting through the tunnel but would not allow for drivers to get to the eastern section of the road on the other side of the highway.

Click to play video: 'Liberals hold ‘ribbon-cutting’ for cancelled Massey Tunnel bridge'
Liberals hold ‘ribbon-cutting’ for cancelled Massey Tunnel bridge

A report presented to the province in 2019 detailed the overpass on page 20.

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“When we are talking about scope of the project we are talking less than one per cent, it would be less than 40 million dollars,” Kruger said.

“It is the equivalent of a rounding error.”

The city of Delta has been counting on the overpass as part of ongoing city planning, with developments expected off River Road west of Highway 99.

Click to play video: 'Political fight over the Massey Tunnel project'
Political fight over the Massey Tunnel project

Removing the overpass would increase congestion through Ladner and add commuting time for those in the area.

“Those folks now have to travel one way, it causes congestion and adds about 10 to 15 minutes in commuting time,” Kruger said.

“The second crossing is significant for us.”

Click to play video: 'Province provides update on George Massey Tunnel replacement'
Province provides update on George Massey Tunnel replacement

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said the province is willing to work with the City of Delta, but a new overpass is contingent on federal financial support.

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Fleming said the current configuration of the tunnel replacement, including a Steveston interchange upgrade, was supported by the mayors and has financial support from Ottawa.

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The design of the overpass has not been brought forward to the federal government.

“Ladner knows that to amend an approved project, to an essence open up the scope, would add more money that would need that partnership to come good,” Fleming said.

He added the projections of population growth in Ladner have increased since the project was approved.

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