09/28/2012 02:26 EDT | Updated 09/28/2012 02:43 EDT

Massey Tunnel To Be Replaced: Clark

Description 1 A shot of the inside of the George Massey tunnel as I rode in a car through it. Image has been significantly brightened. | ...

B.C.’s ever-congested George Massey tunnel which connects Delta and Richmond will be replaced, announced Premier Christy Clark.

The province will immediately start planning and developing the new project, Clark told the Union of B.C. Municipalities on Friday.

The four-lane tunnel, built in 1958, is the only major Fraser River crossing in Metro Vancouver. Despite a counter-flow system of three lanes in peak-traffic directions, commuters are often stuck for hours.

The new tunnel is expected to take 10 years to complete.

Clark pointed out that Metro Vancouver’s population is set to increase by one million people by 2031, with a corresponding growth in traffic on major highways.

Truck traffic between Delta, Surrey and Richmond is predicted to increase due to growth at Port Metro Vancouver.

Clark committed $650 million over 10 years for the new tunnel as well as four-lane improvements to the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and the Alberta border.

"These are new projects that we can get started this year but this capital investment is not new money. It is money we have saved from pinching our pennies. I am very proud of that," said Clark.

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