Surrey council has endorsed the George Massey crossing project, but with modified objectives to what the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has proposed.
The modified objectives include: assess and implement necessary improvements along the entire Highway 99 corridor within Metro Vancouver; include two lanes dedicated for transit priority to enhance transit speed and reliability and accommodate future rapid transit expansion; and integrate with regionally significant regional plans and strategies.
The scope of the original reference concept, according to the report, only extended to the Surrey-Delta border, and it didn’t include “any facility upgrades on Highway 99 east of Highway 91.” The report says that staff is concerned an expanded crossing “will generate more traffic at already congested interchanges on Highway 99 in South Surrey, particularly at 32nd Avenue.”
This would include the assessment of additional lanes through Surrey and Delta, reads the report. Staff also suggest potential funding for new and upgrades interchanges at 152nd Street, 32nd Avenue and 24th Avenue.
The report says that staff is “concerned” about the loss of transit/HOV lanes on the bridge, and in order to “remain a successful and sustainable region, transit will need to capture a growing share of regional travel.” The report says that the new crossing should include two lanes dedicated for transit priority, with an option to convert these lanes to rapid transit in the future.
For integrating key regional plans and strategies, staff said any solution to the crossing “should be consistent with Metro Vancouver’s regional growth strategy and TransLink’s regional transportation strategy. The report says that an integrated approach will also “support the regional conversation about the future of mobility pricing, which can help manage traffic demand on the new crossing.”
Staff will also be sharing the report with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, which has asked for input and feedback on the draft project goals, and continue to work with the ministry on the project.
According to a corporate report from the engineering department, staff agreed that a new crossing is needed to help with the “efficient movement” of people and goods across the region.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure appeared as a delegation to council on April 1 to provide an update on the George Massey crossing project.
The province, according to the report is seeking input on four preliminary goals and objectives: support sustainability of the south of the Fraser River communities; facilitate an increased share of sustainable modes of transport; enhance regional goods and movement and commerce; and support a healthy environment.