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

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SURREY, B.C. — Premier John Horgan says a twin-tunnel proposal for a major Metro Vancouver traffic bottleneck will get serious consideration from his government.

Opened in 1959, the George Massey Tunnel struggles to handle today’s traffic volumes. Photograph By Gord Goble

Horgan says Metro Vancouver mayors now appear united in their support for a plan to reduce traffic congestion at the current George Massey Tunnel on Highway 99 under the Fraser River.

Horgan says the mayor’s proposal is less costly, faster to build and would not require tolls.

The B.C. government cancelled plans for a 10-lane bridge to replace the 60-year-old tunnel shortly after it took office, saying it was the wrong project and communities didn’t want the bridge.

Horgan says the treasury board will examine the cost of the twin project and the province will go back to the federal government to ask for funding.

The mayors of Delta, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver and White Rock along with the chiefs of the Musqueam and Tsawwassen First Nations wrote to the premier last month asking for action to resolve the “terrible bottleneck.”

The joint letter said the leaders agree that the project should include six lanes for regular traffic, two lanes for public transit and have access for enhanced rapid transit, with the potential to include high-speed rail.

“We believe only tunnel options, including a cost-effective deep bored tunnel if possible, should be considered,” the joint letter says.

It says Transport Canada is accepting applications through the National Trade Corridors Fund for projects like this and the government should be taking advantage of the funding opportunity.

Horgan told the news conference on Thursday that his government views the consensus among the leaders as an opportunity to move quickly on a replacement.

“We have talked to the federal government who would not participate in the former Massey plan because there were tolls involved, so now that we have an opportunity to get a federal partner and we have unanimity at the Mayor’s Council, I think there’s every possibility that we can get started on this in a more timely way.”