The long awaited technical review on the future and fate of the George Massey tunnel will be released Monday, Dec. 17.
It’s not clear yet what that review will say although early speculation is that the NDP government will look to the Mayor’s Council for their input, and that while they wait for that input, there will be some upgrades to the tunnel.
Early signs also suggest that the bridge project is likely dead.
The NDP government cancelled construction on the George Massey bridge project last September and launched this independent technical review on the tunnel situation. The technical review was completed in June.
“In September 2017, Minister Trevena put the previously proposed 10-lane Massey replacement bridge on pause, responding to concerns from Metro Vancouver and people in the area,” said the Ministry of Transportation in an emailed statement to the Optimist two weeks ago. “Stan Cowdell was retained to undertake an independent review of the project, and look at options available for this corridor. The minister received the report in June, and it is under consideration.”
Recently, the City of Richmond’s engineering department also provided a report to Richmond council that suggested that the bridge project is indeed dead.
Delta Mayor George Harvie, who has championed the bridge as the best alternative to congestion, said he also believes the original project is unlikely to proceed.
“In my informal discussions with the mayors, they realize the corridor is an important component of the regional transportation network and we need to make sure it’s developed in a way that meets the regional transportation needs and planning. Do I expect the same bridge that was put out for request for proposals? Absolutely not,” said Harvie in an earlier interview with the Optimist.“This government has the right to take a look at it and we’ve already given comments to the minister of transportation regarding our views.”
Metro mayors, including Richmond’s Malcolm Brodie, have voiced opposition to the multi-billion dollar bridge project.
Delta South MLA Ian Paton, openly frustrated at the wait for Cowdell’s report, has repeatedly said independent reviews have already been done, confirming a bridge is the most cost effective and environmentally sound choice to replace the aging tunnel.