The province has named engineer Stan Cowdell to lead an independent technical review of the George Massey Tunnel.
The appointment of Cowdell was announced Wednesday (November 1) nearly two months after the B.C. NDP government put on hold the construction of a $3.5-billion bridge to replace the crossing.
The previous B.C. Liberal government had approved a 10-lane tolled bridge linking Richmond and Delta to ease traffic congestion.
On September 6 this year, the B.C. NDP government announced the suspension of the project in order for a technical review to explore options.
Cowdell is the president of Westmar Project Advisors Inc. based in North Vancouver.
“The purpose of this technical review is to find a solution to safety and congestion issues faced by commuters, commercial drivers and first responders at the tunnel,” states a government media release.
Cowdell is expected to hand in his report in the spring of 2018.
According to the media release, “The first task of the review will be to independently undertake a technical review of the lifespan, safety and seismic vulnerability and current congestion of the existing tunnel.”
“As well,” the release continues, “Cowdell will review the technical assumptions and analysis for the tunnel and bridge options. As part of this, he will review the technical information already produced for the project and challenge or verify the assumptions made out of that work. This assessment may identify the need for further technical work.”
Except for Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, mayors of Metro Vancouver do not support a new bridge over the south arm of the Fraser River.
The plan for a new bridge was approved by the B.C. Liberal government led by then Premier Christy Clark in 2013.More