Richmond city council to ask government to stop work on Massey Tunnel replacement
'We think there are other solutions,' said the city's mayor, raising the idea of a second tunnel instead
Richmond city council will be asking the B.C. government to stop work on the George Massey Tunnel replacement until other options are looked at, including twinning the tunnel.
Council voted 8 to 1 on Monday night to call on Premier John Horgan to consider whether the tunnel, which opened to traffic in 1959, should be twinned rather than replaced with a new 10-lane bridge.
"We think there are other solutions," said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.
"The suggestion being made by Richmond is not just to upgrade the existing tunnel, but to add to it with another tunnel so it would be basically twinning the tunnel."
The tunnel, critical to the movement of traffic in the region along Highway 99, has become a traffic bottleneck and there are concerns over whether it is capable of withstanding a large earthquake.
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The 3.5 billion dollar replacement plan for the tunnel was approved by the B.C. Liberal government in 2013, but Brodie argues the existing tunnel can be seismically upgraded and the twinning would cause less damage to the environment.
"Hopefully, ultimately, the provincial government and its staff will analyze the situation and come to the conclusion that we can much more viably get to a better place by using something besides a bridge to get there."
The municipality of Delta, on the south end of the Massey, is in favour of the bridge.
Horgan has not committed to whether the proposed bridge will go ahead or not — but his mandate letter to Transportation Minister Claire Trevena did not mention the project.