The government of British Columbia has announced a US$3.25bn (C$5.15bn) project to replace the George Massey Tunnel under the Fraser River 20km south of Vancouver with a toll-free eight-lane immersed-tube tunnel.
The 629-metre-long tunnel was opened in 1959 and forms part of Highway 99, which runs southeast to the US border.
Two of the new tunnel’s lanes will be dedicated to buses, and separate lanes will be dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians.
The province is also improving transit and cycling along the Highway 99 corridor and will replace the Steveston Interchange by 2025.
Rob Fleming, British Columbia’s minister of transportation and infrastructure, said: “A new crossing to replace the George Massey Tunnel will improve traffic flow and make travel by transit, walking and cycling more convenient and attractive, without costing commuters hundreds of dollars a year in unfair tolls.
“We’ve worked hard to make sure this is the right project for the region, and along with the other Highway 99 improvements getting underway, we’re getting people moving around in the region.”
Ravi Kahlon, British Columbia’s minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, said: “In addition to benefits for drivers, this new tunnel will bring a lane dedicated to bus rapid transit across the Fraser River on Highway 99 and also improve connections for cyclists and pedestrians.”
“We have worked very closely with local municipalities, Indigenous leaders and TransLink to reach the right solution for the Metro Vancouver region.”
An eight-lane bridge had been proposed to replace the George Massey Tunnel, but it was judged that a new tunnel would allow work to start earlier, protect users from severe weather and have less of an impact on surrounding areas.
The new tunnel is due to open in 2030.
Image: The George Massey Tunnel (harrysaxon/CC BY-SA 3.0)