B.C. to replace Massey Tunnel with new bridge, Premier Christy Clark announces
The B.C. government will replace the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge, Premier Christy Clark announced in an address to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention today (September 20).
Construction on the existing Highway 99 corridor will begin in 2017. The announcement follows a consultation process on options for replacing the Massey Tunnel, which Clark referred to as “the worst bottleneck in the Lower Mainland".
“There was an overwhelming consensus,” Clark said of the consultation results. “People said the tunnel must be replaced, and it must be replaced on the same route.”
Clark told reporters she doesn't have details yet on the cost of the new bridge, or whether drivers will be charged a toll to use the crossing.
She noted the cost of the project could be comparable to the Port Mann bridge, which was about $830 million, in addition to another $2 billion for associated highways improvements.
"We have a feel for how much it might cost and we’re confident we can finance it, but we’re still working on some of those details," she said.
In her address to convention delegates, the premier also released details of a panel on crime reduction, and announced a new “Buy B.C. program” to connect liquefied natural gas proponents with B.C. businesses.
“Our government is going to do everything that we can to connect local B.C. businesses to the multinational corporations that are building those projects,” Clark told convention delegates.
“Whether you’re a clean tech firm from Vancouver, or an engineering firm in Victoria, or whether you’re a tech start-up in Kelowna, we can be the matchmakers. We can make sure that those connections are made."
Northern British Columbia communities will also have access to $150,000 in grants to assess the feasibility of infrastructure projects needed to support LNG development, Clark announced.
The new “blue-ribbon panel” on crime reduction will be chaired by Darryl Plecas, and will include members such as former RCMP deputy commissioner Gary Bass, criminologist Geri Ellen Bemister, and professor Yvon Dandurand.
"Too many communities, too many neighbourhoods and too many families still feel like they are living under the threat of crime, and we have to make sure that we stay ahead of it," stated Clark.
The panel will start meeting in October, and will begin holding regional roundtable sessions early next year.
Clark also announced that Steve Thomson, the minister of forests, lands, and natural resource operations, will take on an additional responsibility for rural development.
The premier's speech concluded the five-day UBCM convention. Outgoing NDP leader Adrian Dix and B.C. Green MLA Andrew Weaver also addressed convention delegates this week.