Massey Tunnel ProjectGeorge Massey Tunnel Replacement Project
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced September 6 that it is is proceeding with an independent technical review of the George Massey Tunnel corridor to find a solution that gets people and goods moving and makes sense for commuters across the region.
The review will focus on what level of improvement is needed in the context of regional and provincial planning, growth and vision, as well as which option would be best for the corridor, be it the proposed 10-lane bridge, a smaller bridge or tunnel.
The City of Richmond has welcomed the Province’s announcement of a review of the bridge project and its commitment to consult with the City and other stakeholders in considering all options for addressing traffic congestion at the tunnel.
The previous Government of BC had initiated the replacement of the existing tunnel with a new 10-lane wide high level bridge over the South Arm of the Fraser River linking Delta with Richmond. The Project scope includes the significant widening of Highway 99, the replacement of existing interchanges and overpasses, and the decommissioning of the Tunnel at an initial estimated cost of $3.5 billion.
Richmond City Council recognizes the need to address traffic congestion around the Tunnel, as it negatively impacts the region’s economy and quality of life for its residents; However, Richmond had numerous concerns with the proposed 10-lane bridge. 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. A Full list of the City’s concerns about the project as currently proposed can be found here.
The City is committed to working closely and collaboratively with the Province and other stakeholders to consider all options for addressing the congestion at the tunnel.
Richmond has already proposed two alternative options for twinning the existing tunnel as potential better solutions for addressing current traffic congestion at the South Fraser crossing in the long term. A report outlining alternative crossing options was presented to Council on July 24, 2017.
In considering the alternative options for an improved crossing, staff identified the following criteria for further evaluation;
- have little to no net adverse effects on the environment;
- minimize the scale of the infrastructure in order to lessen the environmental, land use and agricultural impacts;
- be compatible with the Regional Growth Strategy (i.e., reduce reliance on private auto use, limit increased SOV capacity, accommodate expanded and improved public transit service, and promote a mode shift to high occupancy vehicles (HOV) with three or more occupants); and
- address current traffic congestion at both ends of the Tunnel by providing better transit and effective measures to manage private auto travel demand and more efficient integration with adjacent interchanges (merge and diverge traffic operations).
Based on preliminary order-of-magnitude cost estimation, the following two options which would best address the above criteria, could potentially be implemented without exceeding the current estimated project cost of $3.5 million.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.
More details on the City’s criteria for endorsing the tunnel twinning options can be found in the July 24, 2017 report.
Richmond City Council’s position on the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project has been developed through a series of Reports to Council.
Past Reports to Council on the topic can be found here:
- March 27, 2017
- October 11, 2016
- October 3, 2016
- September 12, 2016
- July 25, 2016
- February 22, 2016
- January 25, 2016
- October 13, 2015
- July 27, 2015
- June 23, 2014
- March 11, 2013