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In 2013, the B.C. government announced plans to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a bridge. Construction of the new span between Delta and Richmond is expected to begin in 2017.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is developing plans to replace the existing George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge along the Highway 99 corridor. This project is in response to growing concerns about the impact of congestion at this crossing, and recognizes that the existing tunnel has about 10 years of useful life remaining before major components will need to be completely replaced.
Subject to environmental review, construction is expected to begin in 2017. A great deal of additional technical and financial analysis still needs to take place before confirming designs and selecting a contractor. Starting now will ensure we have a solution in place within by 2022; one that meets the growing needs of communities, businesses and stakeholders that rely on this important crossing.
The existing tunnel is over capacity during the morning and evening rush hours and close to capacity throughout the day. Rush hour queues frequently extend from 1.5 to 5 kilometres.
The existing tunnel has about 10 years of useful life remaining before major components will need to be completely replaced. Additionally, while the tunnel remains safe for all users, it does not meet modern seismic standards. The Ministry completed a limited seismic retrofit program in 2006, which included structural repairs to tunnel walls and some upgrades to ventilation systems, emergency pumps and power systems. An early warning system was installed to alert drivers in the event of significant seismic activity.
Consultation results indicate that people prefer a bridge instead of a tunnel. A new bridge will have improved safety and security for traffic, pedestrians and cyclists, fewer impacts on agricultural land, fewer disturbances on the Fraser River, fewer construction risks and greater cost and schedule certainty.
Building a new bridge, and removing the old tunnel, also creates opportunities for environmental and community improvements to the Fraser River, and at Deas Island Park and Deas Slough.
Construction is expected to begin in 2017, meaning a new crossing could be fully operational by end of 2022. A lot of technical analysis and environmental review work remains to be completed between now and start of construction.
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