Much-needed and overdue improvements of the Highway 99 corridor between Delta and Richmond are on the way and ultimately will lead to the replacement of the 63-year-old George Massey Tunnel.
That’s the message Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming and other elected officials delivered Friday morning from beneath the Oak Street Bridge in Richmond with the Highway 99 Tunnel Program now underway.
“The Highway 99 program is a major priority for our government and for this region. The three components of the program, cycling and transit improvements, a new Steveston interchange, and a new tunnel will allow vehicles including public transit, to move faster and save valuable travel time for residents of Metro Vancouver,” said Fleming.
“I’m very pleased that the budget that we tabled recently (Budget 2022) includes $137 million to invest in the new Steveston Interchange and transit. The second improvements that go along with it, are part of a $4.15 billion new eight lane, toll free Massey Tunnel replacement. We know that this is endorsed by the Metro Vancouver board and working with local government as a way to get things done.”
The new five-lane Steveston Interchange will improve access to transit stops, along with pedestrian and cycling connections across Highway 99. Construction is slated to begin later this year and the project will be completed in 2025.
Other improvements include a new bus-only on-ramp from Bridgeport Road onto Highway 99 southbound. New multi-use pathway connections will be created from the Oak Street Bridge into Richmond’s cycling and pedestrian network.
Transit priority lanes will also be added along Highway 99 in Delta in both directions, while Highway 17A lanes will be widened and reconfigured to support eastbound bus/HOV priority. Improvements will also be made to the bicycle shuttle pull-out on Highway 17A, while new ramp crossings and a new shelter will also be added.
“What we're talking about here on Highway 99, is a matter of the quality of life, the quality of life of the people in Richmond is the people who have to commute on the corridor. It’s also a matter of efficient transportation on this route,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie.
“I don’t think we emphasize this point enough. A large portion of the solution of de-congestion is the fact of getting people out of their cars and having buses available, reliably, safely and efficiently so they can take the bus and make their commute very effectively.”
The Highway 99 improvements is welcome news to Delta Mayor George Harvie where transportation issues in the southwest region of the city have been a major issue for years.
“For Deltans, it’s the stimulus we have needed for many, many years to improve our ability to get to transit. Without this project, Delta has always been underserved with transit,” he said. “We are just at the far end (of the Metro Vancouver region) and it’s very difficult for us to have more transit systems, more buses, but we need them to get Deltans out of their cars and this project is going to make that happen.”