Six options for new George Massey crossing involve keeping old tunnel

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      The old George Massey Tunnel may not go away.

      A list of options being considered for a new Fraser River crossing includes six that involve using the tunnel, which has been in service since 1959.

      One is a new four-lane bridge, plus the existing four-lane tunnel. All lanes will be general-purpose lanes.

      The second is a four-lane deep bored tunnel, plus the old tunnel. All lanes will be general-purpose.

      The third is a four-lane immersed tube tunnel, and the current tunnel, which is a product of immersed tube technology. All lanes will be general-purpose.

      The fourth is a new six-lane bridge, with all lanes serving general purposes. The old tunnel will be kept for transit or local traffic.

      The fifth is a six-lane deep bored tunnel. All the lanes will be general-purpose. The current tunnel will be used for transit or local traffic.

      The sixth option is a new six-lane immersed tube tunnel, with all lanes for general purpose. The existing tunnel will be dedicated for transit or local traffic.

      There are 12 other possible crossing options that will not require keeping the old tunnel.

      These involve a new bridge, immersed tube tunnel, or deep bored tunnel with six to eight lanes.

      The list of options was attached to a report by Neal Carley, general manager of the planning and environment department of Metro Vancouver.

      Carley’s report was prepared for Metro Vancouver’s George Massey Crossing Task Force, which will have its first meeting on Thursday (June 27).

      Carley recalled that a provincial project team held a workshop with staff from Metro Vancouver, TransLink, the City of Richmond, the City of Delta, and Tsawwassen First Nation, in May this year.

      “The workshop ended with the group developing a long list of technical options for high level assessment by the project team,” Carley wrote. “The long list of options included six options using the existing tunnel and 12 options without the existing tunnel.”

      Carley stated that a second staff workshop is planned for June 24 to review the list, and “provide input on a short list”.

      “Staff will provide a verbal update at the June 27, 2019 Task Force meeting,” according to Carley.

      The region’s George Massey Crossing Task Force will be chaired by Metro Vancouver chair and Burnaby councillor Sav Dhaliwal.

      The province is expected to identify a preferred option by the end of 2019.

      The B.C. NDP government stopped the construction of a 10-lane toll bridge that was a project by the previous Liberal administration.

      A technical review on the $3.5 billion infrastructure was commissioned, which later found that a smaller crossing may do.

      A government news release in December 2018 stated that this may involve a six- to eight-lane bridge or an immersed tube channel with up to eight lanes.

      The release also noted that the review done by engineer Stan Cowdell likewise indicated that “retrofitting the existing tunnel to use in tandem with a new crossing may be possible”.