The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has received approval from the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) on its application for land to be used for the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.
“We anticipate there will be a net increase in agricultural land in Delta and Richmond when the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project is finished,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone. “Other benefits for farmers near the project include better drainage for their fields, and congestion relief to make it easier to get goods to market.”
The selected option of replacing the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge on the existing Highway 99 corridor minimizes the impact to agricultural lands, as most of the project will be carried out within the existing Highway 99 right-of-way. The Province will only need small portions of land along sections of the highway in Richmond and Delta. Unused right-of-way will be returned to agriculture.
In addition to the expected net increase in agricultural lands, there are other environmental benefits to the project. Significant among these is the more than $500 million in transit enhancements to increase the already high ridership on Highway 99. This includes 50 kilometres of transit/HOV lanes, a dedicated transit ramp from Highway 99 to Bridgeport Road in Richmond to improve access to the Canada Line, and integrated transit stops at the Steveston Highway and Highway 17A interchanges.
As well, multi-use pathways on the bridge with connections to municipal networks on either side will help make cycling and walking viable transportation alternatives across the river.
The Province expects site preparation work to begin in the coming weeks, with major construction underway later this year. It is estimated that about 9,000 direct jobs will be created over the life of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.
The Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in British Columbia.