An eight-lane immersed tube tunnel has been chosen as the preferred option to replace the four-lane, 629m long George Massey Tunnel, a 60 year old highway traffic tunnel located approximately 20km south of Vancouver.
The decision was taken by a Metro Vancouver committee which has been examining several options put forward to deal with the controversial congested crossing.
Originaly the tunnel was to be replaced by a US$3.5bn, 10-lane bridge, but this plan was rejected in 2017 by the then new BC NDP Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.
In June 2019, a preliminary List of Options was developed along with an Evaluation Framework that reflected the principles, goals and objectives required to assist in assessing options and selecting a preferred option.
A technical engineering services contract was awarded to COWI North America to provide support.
In July 2019, the Mayors’ Task Force endorsed a short list of six options, based on the ministry project team’s high-level assessment of the long-list of options. The short-list focuses on addressing significant off-peak congestion, managing peak congestion, and providing attractive options for transit and active transportation. The short-list was:
- 6-lane bridge, plus 2 traffic lanes and multi-use path (MUP) in existing tunnel
- 6-lane bored tunnel, plus 2 traffic lanes and MUP in existing tunnel
- 6-lane immersed tube tunnel, plus 2 traffic lanes and MUP in existing tunnel
- 8-lane bridge with MUP
- 8-lane bored tunnel, plus MUP in existing tunnel
- 8-lane immersed tube tunnel, plus MUP in new or existing tunnel
In the meeting it was reported in local media that Committee members Delta Mayor George Harvie and Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said the immersed tube would be a better overall option than a scaled-down eight-lane bridge that would have noise pollution and be a visual eyesore, and that both options would cost roughly the same.
The deep bored tunnel was instantly rejected on grounds of it costing some four times that of most of the other options, although exact costings were not given at the meeting.
The new endorsement now paves the way for public consultation to take place.
The ministry has said that the new immersed tube tunnel is estimated to take eight years to complete from today.
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