Conservatives promise to provide federal funding for George Massey Tunnel replacement

Aug 17 2021, 1:07 pm

The first major transportation infrastructure promise for Metro Vancouver during the federal election campaign has been made by the Conservative Party.

Party leader Erin O’Toole announced today if elected, the Conservatives would provide federal funding towards the new replacement crossing for the George Massey Tunnel.

However, O’Toole fell short of providing a precise dollar figure, mostly because there are still no definitive plans for the project by the BC NDP provincial government that outline the multi-billion dollar estimated costs.

A business case was finalized in late 2020, The options entail an eight-lane immersed tunnel or an eight-lane, long-span suspension bridge.

This past spring, the provincial government submitted the business case to the federal government for a draft funding request.

On Wednesday, the provincial government is expected to finally reveal its preferred design and configuration option, and outline the estimated costs for the project.

“For years, Canada’s Conservatives have called for the replacement of the Massey Tunnel, but that call has fallen on deaf ears,” said O’Toole. “I am proud to support the Massey Tunnel replacement project as part of our plan to secure the future and improve the lives of British Columbians.”

George Massey Tunnel

Highly preliminary conceptual artistic rendering of an eight-lane bridge replacement for the George Massey Tunnel. (Government of BC)

At the earliest, any new crossing would not be ready until towards the end of this decade. The previously cancelled $3.5-billion project for a new 10-lane bridge and 24 km of Highway 99 upgrades and new interchanges was originally set for construction in late 2017 for completion and opening next year.

In June 2021, the provincial government announced downsized upgrades along the Highway 99 corridor — new bus-only lanes on the shoulder, a rebuilt Steveston interchange, and bus connection improvements to Bridgeport Station — would be advanced earlier, with construction starting later this year. This work is being carried out as part of the crossing replacement.

The existing 1959-built, four-lane immersed tunnel is in need of an upgrade to not only accommodate growing commuter traffic and introduce goods movement, but to ensure the crossing is resilient against seismic activity.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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