Skip to content

Province considering filling George Massey Tunnel with sand

Marine navigation, seismic concerns could be addressed with not removing old tunnel.
A new tunnel is expected to be built by 2030.

When the George Massey Tunnel is finally replaced – estimated to be in 2030 – the old tunnel might just be left in place and filled in.

According to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, they are currently “exploring” an option of filling the current tunnel with sand instead of removing it.

“Filling the existing tunnel will address long-term seismic concerns and related risks to marine navigation and nearby infrastructure,” the ministry said in a statement. “Leaving the existing tunnel in place will reduce impacts to the river and marine traffic through construction.”

In the meantime, BC Hydro is weighing its options on how to replace its transmission lines that currently go through the existing tunnel.

The utility has proposed three options to replace the transmission lines: build overhead wires, build them into the new tunnel or build a separate tunnel for the hydro line.

BC Hydro has ruled out a separate tunnel and is exploring whether to build overhead lines or integrate them into the new tunnel.

Richmond city council voiced its opposition to the the overhead line option at a meeting in fall 2022.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie told BC Hydro representatives he couldn’t understand why BC Hydro ever considered “regressive” overhead transmission lines that look like they’re from the 1920s.

“I always struggle to determine just how is that future-oriented,” said Brodie.

The new tunnel is budgeted at $4.15 billion and will be an eight-lane immersed tube tunnel.

Got an opinion on this story or any others in Richmond? Send us a letter or email your thoughts or story tips to [email protected]. To stay updated on Richmond news, sign up for our daily headline newsletter.