The B.C. government has awarded more than $56 million in contracts as it moves forward with replacing the aging George Massey Tunnel.
On Wednesday (Feb. 9), the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure announced it had awarded nine contacts for “technical and engineering expertise” relating to the forthcoming eight-lane immersed-tube tunnel along Highway 99 between Delta and Richmond, worth a total value of $56.7 million.
“We are moving ahead with a new toll-free tunnel to replace the George Massey Tunnel, and these contracts will support the ministry’s work as we move from development to construction,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said in a press release.
“The new tunnel, along with a new Steveston Interchange and Highway 99 improvements, are being designed to improve safety, reliability and connectivity while aligning with regional interests.”
The new crossing, which will be located immediately upstream of the existing tunnel, is expected to be operational by 2030 and cost an estimated $4.15 billion, which includes the cost of removing the current tunnel.
The tunnel will be about one kilometre longer and three metres deeper than the existing tunnel to accommodate double-decker buses. Two of the eight lanes are to be dedicated for rapid bus transit, and there will be separated pathways for cyclists and pedestrians.
COWI North America Ltd. and R.F. Binnie and Associates Ltd. have been awarded $15-million contracts for engineering services relating to the immersed tube tunnel and highway and civil works, respectively, while Golder Associates has been contracted for environmental services valued at $14,771,000 and archaeological services valued at $2,100,000.
Northwest Hydraulic Consultants Ltd. is receiving $4,400,000 for hydrotechnical and river hydraulics services, while Lucent Quay Consulting Inc. is receiving $4,187,690 for communication and engagement services relating to both the Highway 99 Tunnel Project and Steveston Interchange Project.
Other contracts awarded include $725,000 to Sartori Environmental Inc., who will serve as the independent environmental monitor for the corridor improvement projects, $322,000 to TyPlan Consulting to act as the project’s marine navigation advisor, and $202,000 to RAM Engineering Ltd. to act as the project’s marine construction advisor.
The next step for the project is to initiate the environmental assessment process, which the ministry says will include ongoing engagement with Indigenous groups and stakeholders, along with preparation for procurement.
Meantime, improvements to transit and cycling infrastructure along Highway 99 are already underway, and construction of the new Steveston Interchange is scheduled to begin this year.
— with files from Aaron Hinks