The northbound view inside the George Massey Tunnel.

Massey Tunnel unsafe for crash responders: report

Transportation minister says new Massey bridge would cut crash rate by 35 per cent, reduce risks

The constraints of the George Massey Tunnel don’t reliably allow for rapid or safe emergency response to crashes, according to a report by Delta first responders.

The findings are being brandished by Transportation Minister Todd Stone as further evidence of the benefits of the proposed new toll bridge to replace the tunnel.

“The report details just how difficult and dangerous it is to provide an emergency response in the confines of the tunnel,” Stone said. “It notes instances of where first responders have had to walk in to help people, or carry in jaws-of-life and other equipment as their vehicles couldn’t get close.”

Access is limited both by chronic congestion and the lack of a shoulder lane so fire trucks or ambulances can bypass other traffic, according to the report.

“This can cause significant delays in the provision of critical care,” the Delta report said, citing cases where crews couldn’t get close enough except on foot, or where they had to wait for traffic to clear the counterflow lane.

There are an average of 300 crashes a year at the Massey Tunnel, more than 40 per cent higher than the provincial average for other stretches of highway, and the crash rate is double the provincial average for northbound traffic.

A fire in the tunnel can threaten crash victims, the report said, and also pose health and safety risks for emergency responders, who have had to enter the tunnel despite heavy black smoke on some occasions.

It gave the example of a fatal collision involving a car explosion that filled the tunnel with smoke.

“Responding police officers could not breathe due to the smoke, resulting in delays and health concerns for officers.”

The tunnel is not expected to withstand a major earthquake, while the transportation ministry says the new bridge would be built to modern seismic standards.

Stone said more space and better sightlines on the bridge are expected to reduce crashes by 35 per cent, and allow faster and safer emergency response.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, the lone Metro Vancouver mayor in strong support of the $3.5-billion bridge project, has previously argued emergency response is a key point in favour of the tunnel replacement.

Just Posted

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

Biting and jumping are paw-sitives when raising a police dog puppy

18-week-old Maya is training with Delta police to one day take a bite out of crime

Mother’s death causes singer to cancel Surrey Fusion Festival performance

Revised schedule released with Mankirt Aulakh replacing Sharry Mann

TONIGHT: Eagle Eyes to headline Concerts for the Pier in White Rock

East Beach event to feature The Fab Fourever

Toilet, bathtub among junk dumped behind Scott Road thrift store, costing operators money

‘I wish people would appreciate what we do, and not dump their stuff,’ frustrated manager says

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Two toddler siblings found drowned on First Nation in Alberta

The siblings were found drowned on their family’s property, according to RCMP

Chiefs honour Indigenous leader wrongfully hanged in B.C. 154 years ago today

Chief Joe Alphonse says they want his remains returned to his homeland in B.C.’s Cariboo region

Rare white ravens spotted again on Vancouver Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

B.C. government seeks advice on reviving Interior forest industry

Public website opens as meetings start with community leaders

Most Read