B.C. pauses Massey bridge work to conduct new review

Minister says previous reviews by the Liberals may not have looked at all possibilities

The provincial government has put a hold construction of the bridge to replace the George Massey tunnel to take its own look on how best to replace the corridor.

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena announced the independent review, saying previous reviews by the Liberal government may not have looked at all possibilities.

The decision for a new review is supported by the B.C. Greens, party leader Andrew Weaver said in a statement.

“There’s a sense that not all the options were thoroughly examined,” Trevena told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

The review will “look at all the options,” while the ministry works with local politicians on what they’d like to see.

About $70 million has already been spent on the $3.5 billion new crossing, including the building of a new counterflow lane on the Alex Fraser Bridge to help relieve congestion in the area while the project’s plan is sorted.

Recommendations from the review could include upgrades to the tunnel, twinning the tunnel, a bridge, or a mix of the two, Trevena said.

READ MORE : Groundbreaking of new Massey Tunnel replacement bridge met with protester

READ MORE: Massey Tunnel replacement debate spinning its wheels

In the meantime, procurement of the previous Massey project has been cancelled, she said, despite bids being placed.

When asked if this means the project is back at square one, Trevena said the review will build off some of the “good” work already done by the previous leadership since former premier Christy Clark announced interest in the project four years ago.

BC Hydro has already spent about $25 million to relocate their transmission poles.

New review not supported by Liberals, PCA

The B.C Liberal caucus say cancelling the current replacement bridge is putting the safety of commuters at risk and puts the possibility for more than 9,000 jobs on the line.

“This is an unacceptable delay for those who travel through the tunnel every day,” Delta South MLA Ian Paton said in a statement.

The Progressive Contractors Association called the decision “disappointing.”

“This crossing is just too important to commuters, communities and industry not to get going with a replacement project as soon as possible,” PCA regional director Rieghardt van Enter said in a release.


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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