Massey Tunnel safety improvements getting underway

Promised upgrades for the George Massey Tunnel are in the works.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, $40 million worth of safety improvements have got underway and will continue through 2020.

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Last month crews installed higher visibility raised pavement markings on the approaches and through the tunnel. Resurfacing and line painting between Steveston Highway and the Highway 17 interchange is expected to begin before the end of August and finish later in this fall. The majority of the work will be done outside of peak traffic periods to minimize delays.

As far as improving tunnel drainage to reduce the risk of pooling water and ice at the entrances, that project is currently out for tender. Construction is anticipated to start in September and be complete by the end of the year.

There’s also a plan to convert the tunnel and roadway lighting to the LED standard to increase visibility. The lighting design is underway and the ministry says it anticipates construction to begin in late 2019. That work should be finished by next summer.

As far as upgrading the fire alarm, ventilation, fire door and electrical systems, the ministry says design work is progressing with construction expected to get underway in late 2019, finishing in summer 2020.

Meanwhile, additional tunnel washing is ongoing. 

Late last year the province had its long-awaited announcement regarding the future of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project by Transportation Minister Claire Trevena and consultant Stan Cowdell, both confirming the bridge project initiated by the previous Liberal government won’t be moving ahead.

Trevena said there would be interim upgrades to the existing tunnel and road system, money that would be “absolutely well spent.”

Cowdell’s report concluded a 10-lane bridge was not the best way to go, suggesting options could include a six- or eight-lane bridge or an eight-lane tunnel. The existing tunnel could also remain as part of the future solution.

The province will have a business case on a preferred option by the end of next year.

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