Black Press Media file photo

Replacement bridge unlikely for George Massey Tunnel, report says

A report to Richmond council indicated the 10-lane bridge plan is no more

Delta may be out of luck when it comes to getting a 10-lane replacement bridge for the George Massey Tunnel.

During a meeting with the City of Richmond on Nov. 14, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena indicated that the bridge likely won’t be a possible replacement option for the tunnel, according to a report to Richmond council.

“Given that the previous project was cancelled, the Minister advised that any future crossing improvement option would not include a 10-lane bridge,” the report reads. “The Ministry recognizes the significant negative impacts that the scale of such a project would have on the host communities, particularly for Richmond.”

For Delta mayor George Harvie, the reveal was disappointing but not surprising.

“The current provincial government actually killed the project over a year ago,” Harvie said. “The politics are that a 10-lane bridge would never been approved by this government, otherwise why did they stop it?

“Looking at it right now, I just want to see this project go ahead, whatever solution our provincial government wants to make, we need to do it now.”

The future of a replacement for the George Massey Tunnel has been in question since the NDP came into power last year.

RELATED: B.C. pauses Massey bridge work to conduct new review

The previous Liberal government had already begun site work on a 10-lane replacement bridge for the tunnel before the provincial election, and spent about $70-million on the project. When the NDP took over the legislature, the project was put on hold.

The new government then moved forward with an independent technical review of the tunnel, saying it felt that “not all the options were thoroughly examined” by the Liberals.

RELATED: Technical review of George Massey Tunnel underway

The technical review was finished and delivered to the ministry of transportation and infrastructure in June of this year. The report to Richmond council indicates the review will be released to the public by the end of this year.

The technical will include “potential crossing improvement options” and “greater detail regarding the process [that was] followed leading to the previously proposed 10-lane bridge,” Richmond’s report said.

When the review is released, the ministry will undertake technical briefings with stakeholders like Richmond, Delta, TransLink and Metro Vancouver, as well as engage with the community.

Delta South MLA Ian Paton spoke out against the minister’s meeting with Richmond in a tweet Friday (Nov. 30).

”We’ve been asking Minister Trevena to release the results of the Cowdell report for months, and officially confirm what we’ve known all along — that the Massey Tunnel bridge replacement project is dead,” he tweeted.

“After stringing the public along for several months, she’s suddenly run to the City of Richmond with information she should be making available to everyone. 100,000 daily commuters deserve answers. The NDP is putting politics ahead of what is best for the region.”

Paton has been a long-time supporter of the George Massey Tunnel replacement bridge, as an MLA and also as a former councillor with the City of Delta.

Delta has been one of the only communities in favour of the previous 10-lane bridge replacement, with former mayor Lois Jackson the only Metro Vancouver mayor that supported the project. Harvie brought up the issue of the George Massey crossing during the first meeting of the mayor’s council, and seems optimistic about his fellow mayors’ approach to the replacement.

Harvie now seems to be stepping back from his push for a bridge as a replacement, and focusing on the need for a crossing in general. During the election campaign, Harvie promised to push for a new bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel.

RELATED: George Massey Bridge a top priority for new Delta mayor

“I know we are united as a council on the need for a new bridge to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel,” he said during his inaugural speech on Nov. 5. “I will take bold steps to move this forward, bring enhanced transit to Delta, improve safety, protect our agricultural land and plan for future rapid transit.”

Harvie and the past Delta council consistently spoke about the safety concerns of the current crossing, particularly in regards to traffic collisions and seismic stability. According to ICBC, 2017 saw 142 crashes in the George Massey Tunnel alone.

Although Harvie is no longer pushing for the likely defunct 10-lane bridge, he still says a replacement crossing would need to keep safety for first responders top of mind, as well as not take up any more agricultural land and include plans for rapid transit.

“Whatever solution they come up with, we will work with them to ensure that it’s the best fit for Delta,” Harvie said.



grace.kennedy@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Not everybody lined up to vote on Saturday. In Surrey, 68,396 mail-in ballots still need to be counted for the final election tally. (Black Press Media)
North Surrey voters steer left, South Surrey voters steer right

Once again, it’s NDP orange in the city’s north end, Liberal red in the south

Hundreds of people gathered in White Rock last year to participate in the annual Remembrance Day ceremony – but due to COVID-19, the city’s ceremony this year will be online only. (File photo)
White Rock chooses ‘virtual’ Remembrance Day

Due to COVID-19 the Nov. 11 ceremony will be online only

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. It is to have 14 mats available nightly for those experiencing homelessness, regardless of weather conditions. (Tracy Holmes photo)
14 beds planned for South Surrey extreme-weather shelter

Webinar tonight to field questions, share info on Peace Portal Alliance Church refuge

Fraser Health declared an outbreak of COVID-19 at Delta Hospital on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. (Grace Kennedy photo)
Outbreak over at Delta Hospital

In all, 45 cases of COVID-19 were identified and seven patients died during the outbreak

The Sunshine Band Club video posted to Youtube.
VIDEO: Surrey youth band shines light on ‘COVID blues,’ raises money for hospital

Virtual concert from Sunshine Band Club, established last March

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Some of the characters in the League of Legends video game. (Photo: na.leagueoflegends.com)
E-sports trial at B.C. high schools to start with ‘League of Legends’ team game

For fall launch, Vancouver’s GameSeta company partners with BC School Sports

Graphic on promo material for Best Buy Canada’s Tech Wonderland event.
Drive-through ‘Tech Wonderland’ coming to PNE site a few weeks before Christmas

Best Buy Canada-backed ‘holiday’ event to raise money for charity

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Aaliyah Rosa. File photo
Crown says murder of seven-year-old in Langley was planned, deliberate

The trial of KerryAnn Lewis began Monday in New Westminster

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. (B.C. government photo)
Unnamed school in Fraser Health region closed due to COVID-19

Closure announced by Dr. Bonnie Henry during daily briefing

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Most Read