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Feds get draft business case for George Massey Tunnel replacement

Province yet to reveal how many billions each tunnel replacement option would cost
george massey tunnel replacement 2020 open house
Delta residents in early 2020 got to learn about the two replacement options for the George Massey Tunnel

The B.C. government has made an initial funding request to the feds for the future George Massey Tunnel replacement.

Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, confirmed to the Optimist this week that a draft funding request was submitted to the federal government, but much work remains to be done.

“I can confirm that within the past week, Infrastructure Canada did receive a draft business case from the province. It will wind its way through our process in due course. It was too late for Budget 2021, but that by no means suggests that we won’t support it. Every indication I get, as I have had for as long as I have been elected and on this file…the Prime Minister came to Delta and said he would support it, so now this just has to go through the process,” said Qualtrough.

It remains to be revealed to the public how much B.C. is asking from Ottawa, which option will be selected and exactly how much the replacement project will cost.

The province early last year, at an open house in Tsawwassen, unveiled two possible crossing options, one being an eight-lane tunnel while the other is a bridge with the same number of lanes.

A business case on the options was completed later in the year and is now in the hands of the transportation ministry.

The province is reviewing that submission and will consult with partners and stakeholders.

The business case will only be made public following the government’s decision.

A task force of Metro Vancouver mayors had endorsed an eight-lane immersed tunnel, but the provincial government has the final say.

Delta residents first got to see the province’s two options at an open house early last year.

The transportation ministry noted the eight-lane immersed tube option would have a similar grade as bridge, while having low property impacts. It would also be taller inside than the current tunnel, requiring a deeper trench in the river.

The option would also be a shorter crossing, compared to a bridge, while having a comparable cost.

The tunnel project would have an estimated three-year environmental review and require five years of construction.

Also having dedicated transit lanes, a long-span bridge would have more height clearance compared to the Liberal government’s previous bridge plan.

According to the ministry, there would be no piers in the Fraser River for a bridge, however, they would be required in Deas Slough.

A bridge would also have long-term noise, light, visual and shading effects, according to the ministry.

The bridge project would have a one-to-two year environmental review and require five years for construction.

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