The original George Massey Tunnel replacement project pushed the 10-lane bridge option without fully considering feasible alternatives or local opinions on the best path forward, said the review.
Procurement of the bridge was cancelled last year pending the outcome of the review (link opens in new tab).
“The 10-lane Massey bridge project was pushed ahead without the input of communities,” said British Columbia minister of transportation and infrastructure Claire Trevena. “The technical review of the project has confirmed this was the wrong project for the region. We need a better solution for this crossing to get people out of traffic and home with their families.”
The independent technical review undertaken by Stan Cowdell found that:
- the 10-lane bridge project did not fully address a number of key considerations, such as community alignment, liveability and cost;
- a smaller six-to-eight-lane bridge would accommodate the majority of traffic predicted by 2045;
- an immersed tube tunnel crossing of up to eight lanes could be less expensive with fewer negative impacts;
- retrofitting the existing tunnel to use in tandem with a new crossing may be possible;
- the existing shoulder bus lanes work well and could be expanded as necessary;
- highway improvements are equally important to reducing congestion; and
- a realignment could further reduce the project’s scale, complexity and cost.
In January 2019, the province will engage with regional municipalities and First Nations to identify new criteria and goals for the crossing. This will inform further engineering to assess appropriate bridge and tunnel options, with a new business case to be developed by autumn 2020.
“Had the options been carefully and objectively considered before the 10-lane bridge project, we would be much closer to solving the congestion in a way that works for everyone who lives, works and travels in the region,” said Trevena.