The Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure advised Richmond council during a recent meeting that any future crossing improvement option regarding the Massey Tunnel project would not include a 10-lane bridge, according to a staff report.
“The Ministry recognizes the significant negative impacts that the scale of such a project would have on the host communities, particularly for Richmond (e.g., proposed 3-level Steveston Highway-Highway 99 Interchange), stated the report.
The NDP government cancelled construction on George Massey bridge project last September and launched an independent technical review on the tunnel situation.
The technical review was completed in June and will be released to the public by the end of the year, according to the Minister.
The review will provide potential crossing improvement options and “greater detail regarding process followed leading to the previously proposed 10-lane bridge,” said the report.
Richmond council agreed unanimously at last Monday’s council meeting to send a letter to Premiere John Horgan and the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, to press for action on the George Massey Tunnel issue.
The letter will request a direction, communication and consultation process with municipalities regarding the issue.
“The issue has been put on the back burner and I’m bringing it to the forefront,” said Coun. Bill McNulty, who put forward the motion.
“The (Massey Tunnel) situation is not getting any better. We did it (urging the province) with the hospital and presented a petition to the premiere. We must take the same approach to the province on the Tunnel.”
McNulty said the letter would be drafted by staff and sent out “as soon as possible.”
Mayor Malcolm Brodie said he hopes to have the results of the review “very shortly.
“But in case there is more delay, the letter is letting the province know, first of all, we want to be involved in the process, we want to know what the review is going to say, and we want to be consulted.
“Secondly, there is an additional item added to the letter to reiterate that we, as council, think the best option is to upgrade the existing tunnel and to twin the tunnel.”
At the council meeting, city staff were directed to provide feedback on the province review once it’s released, and come up with their own recommendations to advance the project, and report it to council.
“Hopefully we get to a supportable position. Whatever is going on, we want to be involved in it,” said Brodie.
“Staff will have their own ideas on the results of the review that will be released. Depending on the staff recommendations, we will go from there,” said Brodie.