British Columbia

City of Richmond report highlights 'significant gaps' in Massey Tunnel replacement plans

Richmond city hall's transportation department has released a report outlining concerns with the provincial government's plan to replace the George Massey tunnel with a 10-lane bridge.

The report is being forwarded to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office as it holds public consultations

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

A report by Richmond city hall's transportation department is questioning the benefits of the provincial government's plan to replace the George Massey tunnel with a 10-lane bridge.

The report said there are "significant gaps in the assessment of the impacts of the project, omissions of technical analysis as well as unsubstantiated claims of predicted project benefits."

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brody said technical assessments of the project by the province have failed to address the impact it will have on local roads.

The proposed 10-lane replacement bridge would cost $3.5-billion and take seven years to complete.

Calling for cost-effective changes

Brody called on the province to consider cost-effective changes, such as funding public transit along the corridor.

He also suggested banning semi-trailer trucks on the bridge during peak times and building a second tunnel to ease congestion.

"With far less money and far more thought, we can come up with some real improvements to this project," he said.

In June, Metro Vancouver mayors rejected the project, citing concerns about environmental impacts and a failure to assess alternatives. 

Opposition at open house

People protest outside an open house for the proposed Massey Tunnel replacement on September 13, 2016. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

The full report was released to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office as it hosted the second of three public consultations on the project on Tuesday.

Outside the hotel where the consultation was held, protesters made their disagreements with the bridge known.

"We've gone into detail, really ripping apart the province's proposal and it's obvious they've not thought this through," said Carol Day, a Richmond city councillor. 

"Do I have confidence in this? No way."

But inside the open house, officials with the project expressed confidence going forward. 

"We'll continue to work with them, but we don't see any holes in the materials," says project manager Geoff Freer.

"People are saying 'when are you going to get on with the project?'"

Construction is scheduled to begin next year. 

With files from The Early Edition and Kamil Karamali 

To hear the interview click on the link labeled Richmond mayor concerned about impacts of Massey Tunnel replacement bridge