A new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel could be much cheaper than originally thought, according to a report from Delta city staff.

The original estimate from the province to build a new 10-lane bridge was $3.5 billion.

However, the B.C. NDP said during the election campaign that leaked documents showed the total could be closer to $12 billion.

When the staff report was submitted to Delta city council last month, it told a very different story about what the final cost would look like.

"The low bid for the bridge construction came in well below the initial estimate of $3.5 billion at $2.6 billion, placing the bridge as the lowest cost option by a significant margin," the report stated.

"Surprisingly, the potential savings of $900 million has not been widely reported."

The province cancelled construction on the bridge in September and called for a review to explore the best options to upgrade or replace the tunnel, which was built in 1959.

Massey Tunnel

An artist's rendering of the proposed 10-lane bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel. (CBC)

Richmond vs. Delta

The new report has reignited the battle between Delta council, which strongly supports a new bridge, and Richmond council, which doesn't.

When councillor Bruce McDonald was speaking at a recent council meeting about the potential for transit on a new bridge, he refused to mention Richmond by name.

"You can run transit up that without a problem," he said.

"The little group of people that meets regularly on the other side of the river has been saying that's not possible and that's just outrageous."

Richmond has advocated in the past for twinning the existing tunnel or adding an additional two-lane tunnel that's specifically for buses and HOV traffic.

"Richmond had numerous concerns with the proposed 10-lane bridge," it states on the city's website.

"This includes the scale of the combined infrastructure and the associated land use and agricultural impacts; and traffic impacts on local roads and at the Oak Street Bridge."

The provincial review is expected to be completed sometime in the spring.