The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is proceeding with an independent technical review of the George Massey Tunnel corridor, so pending the outcome of the review, the current procurement process has been cancelled and the project will not be budgeted for in the government’s capital plan until a solution has been identified.
The ministry is in the process of recruiting the individual to lead the technical review, and will support the review with expertise in highway infrastructure construction, transportation planning and traffic engineering.
The review will focus on what level of improvement is needed in the context of regional and provincial planning, growth and vision, as well as which option would be best for the corridor, be it the proposed 10-lane bridge, a smaller bridge or tunnel.
On October 4, 2016 the British Columbia government invited three pre-qualified bidding teams to participate in the Request for Proposals (RFP) stage to design, build, partially finance and operate the project, and the ministry expected to have its preferred proponent chosen by this summer.
The terms of the request for proposals dictate that each of the two final bidding teams will be paid up to $2 million to help offset their expenses to date.
The province’s work on the project, up to this point, will be looked at closely as part of the independent review, including technical information developed by the project team and from Metro Vancouver municipalities, as well as new analysis that includes looking at how the removal of tolls will affect the crossing.
While the review is underway, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claire Trevena will engage mayors from Metro Vancouver, including Richmond and Delta, to gather their perspectives on the project, and to ensure that any plan for this corridor reflects their ideas and fits into the overall vision for the region.
Based on the recommendations received, the Province will determine next steps to address the congestion along the Highway 99 corridor.
The Province has spent approximately $66 million on the estimated $3.5-billion project. An environmental review was completed earlier this year.
BC Hydro has spent approximately $25 million on its transmission relocation project. Work completed to date is expected to be utilized regardless of which option is chosen.
Valuable property has been acquired, pre-load construction work along the Highway 99 corridor is wrapping up, and technical work and analysis will be considered as government moves forward to improve the crossing.