The second phase of the Massey Tunnel Replacement Project kicks off next week.
After weeks of consulting with the public on what its travel needs are, the provincial government will now focus on the actual options for replacing the tunnel.
Although the potential alternatives won’t be revealed until Monday, one likely to be on the table is a bridge crossing in the East Richmond area — an option recently criticized by Richmond city council.
A series of open houses, hosted by the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, will kick off next week to explore the options for replacing the 54-year-old tunnel under the Fraser River’s south arm.
The Richmond open house is Wednesday, March 13 at the Olympic oval from 6 to 9 p.m. Other open houses are being held in Surrey, March 14 at Sullivan Hall, 6306 – 152nd St. and in Delta on Saturday, March 16 at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn, 1665 56 St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More than 1,100 people took part in phase 1 of the project, which, according to the ministry “sought to gain a better understanding of current travel needs and design considerations.”
The three-week consultation period included online engagement, nine stakeholder meetings and five open houses.
Not surprisingly, more than 80 per cent of respondents identified congestion reduction as the most important factor to consider in developing replacement options.
Currently, more than 80,000 vehicles go through the tunnel every day and rush hour queues can extend from 1.5 to 5 kilometres, wasting valuable time for commuters and commercial users.
If you can’t make any of the open houses, an online feedback form will be available from March 11 at www.masseytunnel.ca.
The deadline for input into the second phase of consultation is April 2.