03/11/2013 06:25 EDT | Updated 03/11/2013 11:36 EDT

Massey Tunnel Options Include Bridge, Upgrades

B.C. Gov't

The often congested Massey Tunnel that connects commuters between south of the Fraser River and Richmond and Vancouver may be upgraded or replaced with a bridge according to five scenarios laid out by the B.C. government.

The province is seeking public input on the future of the Massey Tunnel, which is estimated to have only 10 to 15 years of life left before major replacements must be made.

According to a report released on Monday, the potential crossings include:

  • Keeping and upgrading the existing tunnel.
  • Replacing the tunnel with a new bridge in the same location.
  • Replacing it with a new tunnel.
  • Keep existing tunnel and build a new bridge or tunnel next to it.
  • Keep existing tunnel and build a new bridge or tunnel in a new location.

Three open houses are scheduled for Richmond, Surrey and Delta this week for the province to gather opinions from the public. The proposed options came out of a first round of public meetings and a consultant's report.

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.

An estimated 80,000 vehicles use the tunnel daily. Congestion is only expected to get worse with the population and developments growing south of the Fraser.

The original tunnel, which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1959, cost of $25 million and replaced the old ferry service. Officials say the existing tunnel has only 10 to 15 years of useful life remaining before major components will need to be completely replaced.

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Massey Tunnel See Gallery