British Columbia

Delta Mayor 'concerned' bridge to replace George Massey tunnel won't move forward

Delta mayor Lois Jackson is concerned the future of the Massey Bridge remains unclear.

Change in provincial government leaves future of Metro Vancouver transit plan unclear

An artist's rendering of the proposed bridge to replace the George Massey tunnel. (Province of B.C.)

With all of the uncertainty in B.C. provincial politics, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson fears the controversial bridge to replace the Massey tunnel may not move forward.

"I'm very concerned about its continued construction," Jackson told CBC News Tuesday. 

"It has been 5 or more years in the actual planning phase and construction is imminent."

The B.C. Liberals had planned to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a $3.5 billion bridge.

Now, with the NDP and the B.C. Green party working together in the province's first minority government in decades, the future of projects like the bridge is unclear. 

During the campaign, Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said it would be a better idea to twin the current tunnel instead of building a bridge, while the B.C. NDP said it would defer to Metro Vancouver mayors on the decision. 

Many Metro Vancouver mayors spoke out against the project last summer, saying the bridge was "car-oriented" and diverting money from public transit and other transportation priorities.

Jackson — who supports the bridge plan — is now worried the project will be scrapped. 

"As far as its future is concerned it's everybody's guess as to what will occur."

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté said he hopes the next government will focus on the priorities outlined by the Mayors' Council — including improvements to the Pattullo Bridge. 

"Our concern has been watching the Massey Tunnel leapfrog the Pattullo Bridge even though we all know that bridge has reached its life expectancy and needs to be taken care of immediately," he said.

"We think the priority is working on that particular piece of infrastructure while continuing to have those discussions about Massey."

Jackson hopes the political uncertainty dissipates so Metro mayors can move forward with transit planning.

"You can't move ahead with a plan of any type if you have relied on provincial funding or provincial approval for funding," she said.

"Only time will tell how that will unfold. These are very interesting times. Minority governments are very difficult times to move ahead with any projects."