Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, made the following statement in response to a report from Delta first responders about the safety of the George Massey Tunnel:
“I want to thank Delta fire and emergency chief Dan Copeland, Delta chief of police Neil Dubord and all Delta first responders for the work they do, day in and day out, as they deal with emergency situations at the George Massey Tunnel.
“Their recent report to council highlights one of the main reasons we’re moving ahead with the replacement of the tunnel – the safety of the travelling public who use this crossing every day. The safety of motorists on our highways is my ministry’s number-one priority, and it’s clear that a new bridge to replace the tunnel will improve safety for the 80,000 motorists who travel this corridor.
“The report details just how difficult and dangerous it is to provide an emergency response in the confines of the tunnel. It notes instances of where first responders have had to walk in to help people, or carry in jaws-of-life and other equipment as their vehicles couldn’t get close.”
“The crash statistics also highlight that the average accident rate for northbound traffic using the George Massey Tunnel is double the provincial average. This is simply unacceptable and is another reason why we are proceeding with the replacement of the tunnel with a new bridge built to modern standards.
“With the new bridge in place, we estimate collisions will be reduced by more than 35% because of more space and better sightlines. And when there is a situation, better access will mean a quicker and safer response.
“The new bridge will be built to modern seismic standards to provide a lifeline connection across the Fraser River, replacing the seismically vulnerable tunnel. As well, Highway 99 will be upgraded to modern engineering standards to increase safety for drivers and for communities along the route. This includes longer merge lanes, wider travel lanes, improved sight lines and increased vertical clearances at overpasses.
“The new bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel will be safer for motorists, safer and more accessible for first responders, and safer in the event of an earthquake. And that’s why we’re moving ahead with this important project.”