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Delta hears latest on George Massey tunnel replacement project

Corp. is expecting to complete the environmental assessment before fall 2025
Opened in 1959, the existing crossing is to be decommissioned following the opening of the new tunnel. Sandor Gyarmati photo

The province is about to move into the next step in the process of building a new eight-lane immersed tunnel to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel in Delta.

Providing an update to Delta council in a presentation at last Tuesday's (Sept. 12) Committee of the Whole meeting, Donald Trapp, Executive Director of Project Management for Transportation Investment Corp. (TI Corp.), gave the latest on the Fraser River Tunnel Project, including the status of the environmental assessment, stakeholder engagement and project timeline.

Trapp noted about 40 baseline studies have been completed for the environmental assessment which, among other things, will help identify opportunities for mitigation, while a readiness decision is expected soon. That will lead into the next phase, process planning, which will include a 30-day public comment period led by the Environment Assessment Office (EAO).

Noting they’ve been actively engaged with stakeholders in Delta, including a meeting with Delta’s Agricultural and Hunting Advisory Committee later this month, Trapp said they’re also near the first phase of the procurement process.

A request for qualifications was launched earlier this summer and submissions are being received this month.

Trapp described the project as “a progressive design-build model” that will go out for request for proposals in mid-October of this year for a design-early works agreement from a shortlist of qualified teams. That request for proposals is scheduled to be awarded in the spring of 2024.

The awarding of a separate design-build request for proposals is scheduled for 2025.

Mayor George Harvie and Coun. Dylan Kruger during the presentation reiterated the need for a second exit out of Ladner be included as part of the project.

Representatives with the Ministry of Transportation and Highways in an earlier presentation noted it would be contingent on the province receiving sufficient funding from the federal government.

Trapp told council that TI Corp. is delivering the current approved scope of the project, but the ministry continues to advance for a second exit.

Kruger responded, “I do feel there’s been a real expectation established in our community where, on the one hand, we’re being told we need to approve a lot of new housing. We’re one of 10 communities that have been put on the list to have mandatory housing targets, and yet not being given the required infrastructure money in order to support this new housing. This second exit is critical, not just for the current state of traffic in Ladner and South Delta, but for our projected future growth.”

Wondering if any studies or preliminary designs have been made for a second overpass from River Road, Harvie said he will be going to Ottawa in his role as Delta’s mayor and chair of Metro Vancouver to advocate, adding he hopes the province’s transportation minister will also be part of the delegation.

Harvie said there is an “urgent need” to include safe, active transportation.

In a presentation to Metro Vancouver’s George Massey Tunnel Task Force this summer, TI Corp. noted the estimated cost of the project is approximately $4.15 billion and is projected to be completed in 2030.

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