June 22, 2021
RICHMOND, B.C. — The Richmond Chamber of Commerce is pleased to see a commitment to real improvements on the Hwy 99 corridor around the George Massey Tunnel, but anxious to see a plan to replace the aging crossing itself. Today, the Province announced improvements to the critical corridor, including a new Steveston Interchange, off-ramp widening at the 17A Interchange, additional bus on shoulder transit lanes, and a new Bridgeport bus connection, but no decision on the tunnel itself was announced.
“The George Massey Tunnel should be the Province’s first priority for infrastructure investment,” said Dan Baxter, the organization’s President & CEO. “The existing tunnel was opened in 1959. It’s not only woefully under-capacity, it’s also seismically unsafe,” he continued. “The Richmond Chamber has been a strong advocate for a replacement to this crossing for over a decade. While the projects announced today address real concerns and will align with the eventual replacement, we are ready to see the Province move forward on building a new crossing.”
The original plan for a 10-lane bridge was put on hold following the 2017 election. The Province then ordered an independent review and consultation with local mayors. B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure received the resulting business case for a proposed replacement of the tunnel on December 17, 2020. Detailed in the case were the two shortlisted options for the replacement: an eight-lane immersed tube tunnel, and an eight-lane bridge. A decision between the two options is yet to be announced. The original project was set to be completed in 2022.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of this crossing to Richmond,” explained Baxter. “It impacts a worker’s ability to get to their job, parents’ abilities to pick their children up from daycare on time, countless hours for service workers and transportation professionals, who often must make multiple crossings a day, and so much more. Today is a step forward – now we’re looking for those next steps.”
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