Loading articles...

Former MLA from Delta offers up different option for George Massey Tunnel replacement

Last Updated Oct 13, 2019 at 9:29 am PDT

FILE - Massey Tunnel traffic backed up on May 6, 2015 (NEWS 1130 file photo)

The former independent MLA for Delta-South is offering up another option when it comes to replacing the Massey tunnel

Former Delta-South MLA's idea involves a new under-water crossing, linking Richmond with Burnaby instead of Delta

DELTA (NEWS 1130) – Why not build a new crossing that connects Burnaby with Richmond?

That’s what the former independent MLA for Delta-South is asking, as planning continues to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel.

Vicki Huntington says studies have been done suggesting a tunnel in that part of the Fraser River would be less disruptive.

“If you went up through the Boundary Road location, you could probably build it with less impact and I think a better distribution of traffic in the region overall.”

Huntington, who decided not to seek re-election in the riding now held by Liberal MLA Ian Paton, says she’s never supported replacing the Massey tunnel with a bridge, but she agrees construction should have started by now.

“It is taking too long. Obviously, we need that new crossing. We have what we have and all I can say is get her done before ten years are up. That’s ridiculous. For Heaven’s sake, let’s not start at ground zero again.”

Back in 2016 when former Premier Christy Clark opted to build a ten-lane bridge instead of twinning the tunnel, Huntington was a vocal opponent –and she still is.

That’s why she says she pressured government staff to release their business case.

“Why Delta? Delta has four highways now –all of which are impacting agricultural land. We’ve done our share for the region and for the province,” she says.

“You can darn well start looking at another route that leaves the land in Delta alone.”

She believes a crossing at the end of Boundary Road or even under the Knight Street Bridge would be less disruptive to wildlife, but Huntington says project insiders told her that’s not popular with politicians in Burnaby, Vancouver or Richmond –including some who’ve suggested they have concerns about construction hurting salmon and sturgeon that migrate through the area.

“That main channel is dredged all year long, except in the salmon migration times. It will be monitored by Fisheries and Oceans.”

A mayors’ task force has already endorsed plans for an eight–lane immersed Massey tunnel and Huntington acknowledges the final decision is still up to the province.

“Obviously, the longer we wait, the more it will cost in today’s dollars. Let’s just get her done in the best manner possible with the least impact to Delta.”