Massey Tunnel replacement pledged but no word on tolls

Planning begins to build new bridge or tunnel over 10 years: Premier at UBCM

Premier Christy Clark is promising a replacement for the George Massey Tunnel.

Premier Christy Clark is pledging to begin work to replace the George Massey tunnel and ease intense traffic congestion on Highway 99 in Metro Vancouver.

But she said it’s way too early to say if the new bridge or tunnel – to be built over 10 years – will be tolled.

“I don’t know the answer to that,” Clark told reporters. “We don’t even know what the replacement would  look like.”

Some people in the region prefer a tunnel, while others want a bridge, she said.

“We are just beginning the planning process.”

She made the announcement Friday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria, and cited projections Metro Vancouver’s population will grow by another million people by 2031 and that traffic volumes on major highways will grow 30 per cent over the same period.

“It’s an economic bottleneck,” Clark said. “Talk to anybody who drives through the Massey Tunnel in rush hour commute and they will tell you it’s a huge headache.”

The announcement is being hailed by Delta civic leaders, who have been pushing the case for a rebuilt crossing with more lanes in light of growing container truck traffic from DeltaPort.

But the mere possibility a new Deas crossing would be tolled is certain to inflame the debate in Metro Vancouver over whether the ad hoc tolling of some crossings must be reformed into some more consistent, equitable system.

A tolled tunnel or bridge there in addition to a possibly tolled Pattullo Bridge replacement would leave only the Alex Fraser Bridge as the only free crossing of the Fraser River to Surrey and Delta.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, vice-chair of the TransLink mayors’ council, called it a “great announcement” but added it underscores the need to consider new funding solutions beyond bridge tolls.

“We need to sit down and talk about an integrated approach to funding transit and road pricing,” he said. “I believe the premier and the government are open to that.”

NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston said there are real benefits to replacing the tunnel, particularly with a bridge instead.

“You could have ships with a deeper draft go further up the river up to Fraser port in Surrey,” Ralston said, adding there’s no doubt traffic outstrips the tunnel’s capacity.

But he called Clark’s announcement vague and nearly meaningless.

“It is so far out in the future that it really amounts to just a declaration of intention,” he said.

Ralston said the announcement seems at odds with the province’s latest quarterly financial report signaling huge reductions in capital spending.

The Massey tunnel, built in 1958, is now congested more than four hours a day and runs only one of four lanes of traffic in the off-peak direction during the morning and evening rush.

Transportation minister Mary Polak said consultations with stakeholders will look at whether to pursue a bridge or tunnel, whether to use the current alignment or shift it, and how to pay for it.

“It’s fair to say that there will be all number of options discussed as we begin the planning of this,” she said. “One of those might be tolls but it is too early to tell.”

Clark also promised funding for a new 16 Avenue interchange at Highway 99 in Surrey.

Just Posted

Search for birth parents ends in Mission

Robert McKeever always knew he was adopted; last week he met up with his siblings for the first time

Three Mission RCMP constables named to Alexa’s Team

The team recognizes police officers who excel at removing impaired drivers from B.C. roadways

Delays en route for Highway 7 in Harrison Mills

Road resurfacing will cause month-long delays for drivers travelling through Harrison Mills

Mission being challenged to get active

ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge runs from May 31 to June 16

VIDEO: Mission Friendship Centre holds day-long event

The MMIW event took place May 22 at Fraser River Heritage Park

600 new campsites coming to provincial parks and recreation sites across B.C.

Tourism Minister announced half of the new spots to 13 most popular provincial parks

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Fraser Valley man dead after car hurtles from embankment west of Campbell River

Survivor of crash rushed to hospital by helicopter in serious condition

B.C. premier hints at twin-tunnel plan for Metro Vancouver’s Massey Tunnel

John Horgan cancelled plans for a 10-lane bridge to replace the 60-year-old tunnel shortly after taking office

Police investigate ‘serious collision’ between motorcycle, truck in Vancouver

Motorists asked to stay away from Blanca Street & West 4 Avenue

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Metro Vancouver mayors ask public to lobby feds for annual $375M transit fund

Mayors renewing their call for transit funding as federal election looms

B.C. woman left ‘black and blue’ after being pushed off 40-foot cliff at lake

West Shore RCMP looking for witnesses as investigation continues

Most Read