Premier urged to suspend Massey Tunnel bridge project
25 July 2017
The City of Richmond has called upon the Premier of BC to suspend all current work associated with the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, including the relocation of the BC Hydro transmission lines, pending a comprehensive review and analysis of alternative crossing improvement options.
“Richmond City Council recognizes the urgent need to address traffic congestion around the Massey Tunnel, as it negatively impacts the region’s economy and quality of life for its residents,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “But the bridge project, as currently proposed, is not the best way to achieve these objectives. It's absolutely critical to the future of our city that there be a re-examination of this project. It's so important in so many different ways.”
On Monday, Richmond City Council debated a report examining alternative crossing improvement options, as opposed to the 10-lane bridge project initiated by the previous Provincial government. Council will ask to the provincial government to consider two options for twinning the existing tunnel as potential better solutions for addressing current traffic congestion at the South Fraser crossing in the long term. The two options are:
Option 1: Retain Existing Tunnel and Add 4-Lane Tunnel (Twinning)
Option 1 would retain and upgrade the existing 4-lane tunnel and add a new 4-lane tube adjacent to the existing tunnel. Of the four new lanes, two would be reserved for High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) and bus transit use only (and be readily convertible to accommodate future Light Rapid Transit) and two would be used by general purpose traffic for better connection with the two adjacent interchanges (i.e., Steveston Highway and Highway 17A). The resulting six lanes for general purpose traffic through the tunnels would provide greater flexibility with respect to their operation in the most efficient arrangement (e.g., could be operated as three lanes in each direction at all times or with a peak period counter-flow system with four lanes in the peak direction and two lanes in the non-peak direction).
Option 2: Retain Existing Tunnel and Add 2-Lane Bus-HOV Only Tunnel
Option 2 would retain and upgrade the existing 4-lane tunnel and add a new 2-lane tunnel crossing for bus transit and High Occupancy Vehicle use only that would be readily convertible to accommodate future LRT. A future LRT line could extend from either the Bridgeport or Richmond-Brighouse Stations of the Canada Line to the existing Tunnel crossing and under the river to Delta and ultimately further south, which is consistent with TransLink’s Regional Transportation Strategy that identifies future rapid transit along the Highway 99 corridor south of the Oak Street Bridge. Any future LRT alignment and costing would be determined by TransLink.
The City is also calling for further collaboration with stakeholders, including Metro Vancouver, the Mayors’ Council, TransLink and the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council, to develop a preferred mutually acceptable alternative tunnel crossing concept(s) that would be presented for public consultation.
Richmond has numerous concerns with the current proposal for a 10-lane bridge, as initiated by the previous Government of BC. This includes the scale of the combined infrastructure and the associated land use and agricultural impacts; and traffic impacts on local roads and at the Oak Street Bridge, The project is also not consistent with the Regional Growth Strategy or the Mayors’ Council Vision for Regional Transportation Investments.
More information and a complete copy of the report is available at www.richmond.ca/masseytunnelproject.