The George Massey Tunnel replacement project should include a second exit out of Ladner before proceeding.
That’s what Mayor George Harvie and council agreed on Monday, following a presentation by a representative of the Highway 99 Tunnel Program who provided a timeline on the project that will see a new eight-lane immersed tunnel replace the current crossing.
Following an environmental assessment, construction of the new tunnel is to commence and finish by 2030.
However, the project is lacking in a couple of key areas that should be addressed before construction starts, said Harvie.
One is that a second exit, which was included in the previous bridge plan that was cancelled by the New Democrat government, out of Ladner be included.
The bridge plan by the previous Liberal government included an exit southbound onto River Road and Highway 17A.
Delta also does not accept the use of the existing Millennium Trail as an active transportation connection for the tunnel project.
Harvie noted a simple solution would be an overpass.
He said Delta has seen the same problem previously with the lack of adequate access routes with the Alex Fraser Bridge and South Fraser Perimeter Road projects.
Coun. Dylan Kruger agreed, describing the second exit as “absolutely essential” and that it would add only $10-to-$20 million to what will be a multi-billion-dollar project.
To not have it done when the tunnel replacement is underway and adding it at a later time would only be more costly, Kruger said.
Council agreed to write to Premier John Horgan and Highways Minister Rob Fleming requesting the changes.
Coun. Bruce McDonald said he still wants to know how the province selected a tunnel over a new bridge without having done an environmental assessment.
The province is currently in an early engagement phase of the environmental assessment process for the project’s Initial Project Description.