Delta residents got to see the latest updates and get answers on the George Massey Tunnel replacement project this week at an open house at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn.
One of several open houses that will be taking place over the coming months, the Nov. 22 session was led by the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO) with the province’s tunnel replace team also on hand to explain the project details and the environmental assessment process.
Also outlined were temporary components needed to build the project, which will include jetties, construction access roads, a temporary trestle bridge to Deas Island and the creation of a large excavation area on the island where elements of the new tunnel would be fabricated.
Permanent components will include, among other things, a new Deas Slough eight-lane bridge, the removal of the counter-flow system and realignment of the highway to be four lanes in each direction and a new multi-use pathway through the new tunnel.
As far as construction activities, they include pile driving and installing stone columns to stabilize the ground and riverbed.
Delta Coun. Rod Binder attended the session.
He told the Optimist he has several concerns, including residents living in relatively close proximity to Deas Island being next to a busy construction zone for years, as well as the island needing to be fully restored once the project is completed.
The current public comment period ends Dec. 15.
At a meeting of the Delta Agricultural and Hunting Regulation Advisory Committee, representatives with the Transportation Investment Corporation (TIC) explained how the tube tunnel will be composed of six tunnel elements that will be fabricated on the island and transported to the site by barge. Once the elements have been towed to the site, they will be sunk and installed, but the Fraser River must be closed to navigation temporarily while that work takes place.
Ten hectares of land is required on each side of the Fraser River for laydown and approximately 600 workers will be needed for construction on each side.
Costing approximately $4.15 billion, the eight-lane tunnel project would be completed by 2030.
Meanwhile, as far as corridor improvements connected to the crossing project, the province this week said transit users along Highway 99 will see quicker, more reliable travel with the completion of extended bus-on-shoulder lanes south of the George Massey Tunnel, in addition to other transit and cycling upgrades.
The bus-on-shoulder lane has been extended southbound between Highway 17A and Ladner Trunk Road. Northbound, the bus-on-shoulder lane has been extended between Ladner Trunk Road and 80 Street to tie into the existing bus-on-shoulder lane.
The lanes allow buses to travel in their own area of the road and will tie into existing bus-on-shoulder lanes north of the tunnel.