Board of Trade applauds Premier’s pledge to replace Massey Tunnel
September 20, 2013
Vancouver, B.C. — The Vancouver Board of Trade applauds today’s announcement that the Government of British Columbia will move forward with a new bridge to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel.
In January 2013, The Vancouver Board of Trade sent a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure endorsing the replacement of the tunnel, after actively participating in the Province’s public consultation process. The Board of Trade pledged its support for the tunnel’s replacement, in an effort to improve the movement of goods and people along the Highway 99 corridor. Today’s announcement solidifies the Government’s commitment to delivering on that important initiative.
“Premier Clark’s announcement is great news not just for residents of the Lower Mainland, but for businesses across the province,” said Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade. “The new bridge will alleviate congestion and traffic for commuters, while bolstering trade and strengthening British Columbia’s role as Canada’s Gateway to the Pacific.”
The George Massey Tunnel currently carries more than 80,000 vehicles every day. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure's engineers estimate the existing tunnel has about 10 years of useful life remaining before major components will need to be completely replaced.
“Highway 99 South is one of the most critical transportation corridors in British Columbia. It connects the Metro Vancouver region to the U.S. Interstate highway system, to the BC Ferries terminal in Tsawwassen, to Port Metro Vancouver’s Deltaport container terminal, and to Vancouver International Airport,” said Elio Luongo, Chair of The Vancouver Board of Trade.
“The congestion caused by the tunnel severely slows goods movement, which in turn, slows our economy. It’s time for us to shift gears.”
The Vancouver Board of Trade worked closely with the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, the Delta Chamber of Commerce and the BC Chamber of Commerce in early 2013 to raise the profile of this important issue. A resolution drafted by The Vancouver Board of Trade’s Regional Transportation Committee called for the tunnel’s replacement, contingent on eight conditions. (Read the letter here).
One of The Board of Trade’s key stipulations was that the new bridge is designed in a way that will allow the largest projected marine vessel to pass, while also making provisions for public transit and bicycle traffic.
The resolution also urged that the current tunnel be appropriately decommissioned, and that an environmental impact review be conducted with respect to both the replacement and decommissioning.
“This is an important investment in B.C.’s future, with many long-term implications,” said Luongo. “We look forward to working closely with the Province as they move forward on this project.”