New LED lighting has been installed in the Massey Tunnel – part of a $19-million contract to improve brightness and visibility in the aging crossing.
According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the existing lights on the tunnel’s walls and ceiling were converted to LEDs and were first activated in the northbound tunnel on Wednesday morning. Lights in the southbound tunnel should be converted to LEDs by March 2.
The work also includes improving tunnel drainage to prevent ice build-up and water from pooling at the entrances, as well as upgrading fire safety and electrical systems and ventilation, according to the ministry.
Resurfacing and line painting on Highway 99, between Steveston Highway and the Highway 17 interchange, was completed in November 2019.
The $19 million contract is itself part of a larger, $40-million suite of interim safety and reliability improvements for the tunnel, until it’s replaced with a new crossing.
The provincial government has yet to decide on what form the new crossing will take, however, the business case for the replacement was delivered to the transportation minister, Rob Fleming, in late December.
🔆BEFORE and AFTER🔆 #MasseyTunnel travellers will notice new LED lighting tomorrow morning in the northbound direction (southbound expected to be operational March 2).#DeltaBC #RichmondBC pic.twitter.com/6VoT2KG0pV— BC Transportation (@TranBC) February 17, 2021
The business case – which won’t be made public until a decision is made – outlines two short-listed options: an eight-lane bridge and an eight-lane immersed tube tunnel.
It also identifies potential corridor improvements to help ease traffic congestion and improve safety, public transit and cycling prior to completing the preferred crossing, the ministry told the Richmond News in a statement.
“The Massey tunnel replacement is a key priority for government and we are working hard to build the right project for the region,” the ministry said.
Currently, the provincial government is reviewing the business case with Indigenous rights holders, the federal government, mayors and key stakeholders.
The province previously promised that business case would be made public last fall.
The eight-lane immersed tube tunnel option was endorsed by Metro Vancouver’s mayors in 2019.
The current crossing opened in 1959.