New LED lighting in the George Massey Tunnel is currently in the process of being installed to provide drivers with improved visibility.
The new lighting was activated on the northbound tunnel early Wednesday morning, and the southbound changes are expected to be operational by March 2.
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This is a replacement of the existing high-pressure sodium luminaires, which give off an orange-coloured glow.
By contrast, the new LED lighting gives off a white-coloured output that appears brighter by rendering surface colours more accurately to the human eye, and it is also more energy efficient.
A number of municipalities in the region, including Vancouver, have also been gradually converting their streetlights to LED for the same reason.
The George Massey’s new lighting is part of the provincial government’s $40 million interim safety upgrades to the tunnel, with work first starting in Spring 2020. Other upgrades include the ventilation and electrical systems, and tunnel drainage to prevent ice build-up and water from pooling at tunnel entrances.
The interim upgrades are intended to address some of the safety concerns of the aging, seismically vulnerable four-lane tunnel, until it is replaced with a new crossing later this decade. The provincial government yet to formally determine whether it will be an immersed tunnel or long-span suspension bridge, but it has stated that it will likely be an eight-lane crossing. The business case for the replacement project was finalized late last year and is currently under review.
The cancelled project for a 10-lane replacement bridge, 24 km of Highway 99 improvements, and rebuilt highway interchanges had a budget of up to $3.5 billion. Construction was set to begin in late 2017 for an opening in 2022.