Have your say on the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project until Jan. 28, 2016.
The new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel will improve highway safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from unnecessary idling, and save rush-hour commuters up to 30 minutes a day. http://ow.ly/VZsg0
BC Transportation and Infrastructure (facebook.com) #MasseyBridge
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone today launched the third phase of consultation on the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project and released design and cost details of the estimated $3.5-billion project, which will see a new 10-lane bridge built over the Fraser River at Highway 99.
“The new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel will improve highway safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from unnecessary idling, and save rush-hour commuters up to 30 minutes a day,” said Stone. “This will be the largest bridge ever built in B.C. When completed, it will address what is now the worst traffic bottleneck in the province and bring travel time reliability to one of our most important transportation corridors, serving national, provincial and regional economies.”
The current tunnel is nearing its end of life, and no longer meets modern standards for seismic safety. Many of its major components have about 10 years of useful life remaining before they need to be replaced, including the lighting, ventilation and pumping systems.
The bridge, which will be paid for through user tolls, will offer important safety benefits that include: a design that meets modern seismic standards; additional lanes that make merging safer for all vehicles and will reduce an estimated 35% of collisions; and wider lanes and shoulders that will improve safety and emergency response times.
The bridge will be approximately three kilometres long, with four general travel lanes and one transit/HOV lane in each direction. Once constructed, it will cut some commute times in half and also improve travel time reliability for the 10,000 transit passengers and 80,000 vehicles that use the tunnel each day.
“A new 10-lane bridge will reduce the congestion that commuters currently face each day, and offer long-term options for transportation improvements in the region, like the addition of future rapid transit,” said Delta Mayor Lois E. Jackson. “The environmental benefits are also important to Delta residents, who will enjoy improved access to riverside parkland and regional cycling and walking trails.”
The George Massey Tunnel Improvement Project will have a significant benefit for the environment. It will remove more than one million hours of idling vehicles a year and make transit and HOV travel more convenient and attractive. This includes dedicated transit ramps at Bridgeport Road with direct transit access to and from Canada Line at Bridgeport Station. The project has also been designed to include space to accommodate future rapid transit. For the first time in recent memory at this location, pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross the river, as the new bridge will include a multi-use pathway.
“Expanded capacity at the George Massey corridor will benefit the business community and residents by making it easier and safer for customers, employees and goods to move in and out of Richmond,” said Richmond Chamber of Commerce chair Rob Akimow. “Our members have voiced support for a new South Fraser crossing and we look forward to reviewing the project in more detail and proactively collaborating with key stakeholders.”
Other project components include new interchanges at Highway 17A, Steveston Highway and Westminster Highway and widening approximately 24 kilometres of Highway 99 to include one dedicated transit/HOV lane in each direction from Highway 91 in Delta to Bridgeport Road in Richmond, tying into existing infrastructure.
It is estimated that about 9,000 direct jobs will be created over the life of the project, supporting the goals of the BC Jobs Plan, which builds on the strengths of our key sectors and our educated and skilled workforce, keeping our province diverse, strong and growing.
The third phase of public consultation on the project began today, and is underway through Jan. 28, 2016. More details on how to participate are available at www.masseytunnel.ca. Following completion of Phase 3 consultation, the ministry will finalize the project scope and cost estimate, and submit the project application for environmental review.
Final decisions made by government will take into consideration the feedback received, along with remaining technical studies and the environmental review. Construction will begin in 2017.
For details on the project, including the Project Definition Report, Business Case, and to provide your feedback, visit: www.masseytunnel.ca.
A rendering of a bridge on the Highway 99 corridor and other info-graphics are available at: http://bit.ly/1Yizeye
An animated video flyover is available at: http://bit.ly/1Qr5n7q
Two backgrounders follow.
Media RelationsGovernment Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
The public is encouraged to provide input to help government develop the final plan for this project. Public feedback on the Project Definition Report will be received through Jan. 28, 2016, with a consultation summary report to follow in February.
There are a number of ways for British Columbians to provide feedback:
- Complete the online feedback form available at: www.masseytunnel.ca
- Visit the Project Office at 2030 – 11662 Steveston Highway (Ironwood Plaza) in Richmond, B.C., open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or by appointment.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1.8.555.MASSEY (1 855 562-7739).
- Sign up at www.masseytunnel.ca to receive project updates by email and notification of future engagement opportunities.
There will also be public open houses scheduled for January 2016. Additional information will be available when dates and locations are confirmed.
1959: The George Massey Tunnel (known as the Deas Island Tunnel until 1967) opened to traffic. The 629-metre long tunnel was the first project in North America to use immersed tube technology. The tunnel’s six concrete segments, each 344 feet long and 18,500 tons, were constructed on a dry dock, towed to the site, sunk, connected and sealed into place. It was built to the seismic standards of the day, and no soil strengthening was undertaken prior to placement.
1982: A counter-flow lane system for southbound traffic was added to the highway to help manage congestion at the tunnel. A northbound counterflow was added in 1990.
1995: The Province reviewed long-term alternatives to replace the George Massey Tunnel.
1999: The Province began to develop a seismic retrofit strategy for the George Massey Tunnel.
2001: A detailed design for the seismic upgrade work was completed.
2004: Phase 1 of the seismic upgrade began, which was the structural reinforcement of the tunnel. The two-year project cost $22.5-million.
2008: A seismic early warning system was installed at the tunnel. This work was done in lieu of proceeding with Phase 2 of the proposed seismic upgrade (geotechnical strengthening), which would have carried both a significant cost and a high risk of damage to the tunnel.
September 2012: Premier Christy Clark announced the Government of B.C.’s intention to seek a replacement for the George Massey Tunnel.
November 2012: The Province began a multi-phase consultation process on the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project. The goal of the first phase of consultations was to understand the need, which would help determine the most appropriate solution to meet the growing needs of families, commuters, businesses and others that rely on this crossing. More than 1,100 people participated.
November 2012: Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure began research and analysis of potential crossing scenarios, summarized in a March 2014 report.
March 2013: Phase 2 of consultations began. Phase 2 was about exploring the options. It built on community and stakeholder feedback from Phase 1, and sought input on potential tunnel replacement scenarios, and the criteria to evaluate those scenarios. Almost 1,400 people participated online, at open houses and in small group meetings.
September 2013: Premier Christy Clark announced that the Government of B.C. will move ahead on the project to replace the George Massey Tunnel, with construction of a new bridge on the existing Highway 99 corridor to begin in 2017. The first step of the project was the preparation of a more detailed project scope and business case.
September 2013 – November 2015: Traffic studies, technical and financial analysis, geotechnical investigations, and stakeholder and First Nations consultation to support development of the Project Definition Report. These studies are available on the project website at: www.masseytunnel.ca
January 2014: Improvements were completed to the Massey Tunnel/Steveston Highway northbound off-ramp. This was an interim solution to improve safety and reduce Highway 99 congestion for motorists at this location until the replacement for the Massey Tunnel is completed.
January 2014: George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project Office opened at 2030 – 11662 Steveston Highway (Ironwood Plaza) in Richmond. The office is open to the public on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
December 2015: Project Definition Report and Business Case released for public comment. Input will be received through Jan. 28, 2016.