RICHMOND, B.C. — The B.C. government says the replacement for the George Massey Tunnel will be the largest bridge in provincial history with a cost of $3.5 billion.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone has unveiled plans for the new 10-lane span to be constructed in the same alignment as the nearly 60-year-old tunnel under the Fraser River connecting Richmond and Delta.
He says the 3.3-kilometre project will be funded with user tolls and is expected to save commuters up to 30 minutes of driving time each day.
Stone says the bridge is crucial because the current tunnel is B.C.'s biggest bottleneck and the bridge will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by chopping up to one million hours of vehicle idling time per year.
He adds the tunnel has only about 10 years left before it would require upgrades and doesn't meet modern earthquake standards.
Construction on the bridge along Highway 99 is scheduled to begin in 2017 and will also include dedicated transit and HOV lanes, as well as pathways for pedestrians and cyclists.
The Canadian Press