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Eight-lane Massey replacement won't improve drivers' commutes: Richmond Chamber of Commerce

Last Updated Oct 17, 2019 at 3:11 pm PDT

(Darren Grieve, NEWS 1130 Photo)

The eight lane tunnel proposal to replace the aging Massey crossing will add no lanes during peak periods

The Richmond Chamber of Commerce says this replacement option will not improve things for commuters

Pitcairn says the previously approved 10-lane bridge could likely be built faster and for less money

RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – The Richmond Chamber of Commerce is raising concerns about the eight-lane tunnel proposal for the Massey crossing, saying there won’t be enough lanes for future traffic, and will cost more than a bridge.

The proposal has three standard traffic lanes going each way, the same number available right now during peak periods when the counterflow kicks in.

A Metro Vancouver task force has recommended this tunnel. Following a committee sign off, it will now go to the region’s full board for consideration.

But Richmond Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Pitcairn has written a letter to the Metro Vancouver board, saying this option will not build on that three-lane capacity for cars, which is a problem.

“Essentially, the day this tunnel opens, in roughly a decade from now, we’ll have the exact same rush hour capacity as we have today, which is currently not meeting our needs,” he says.

“I believe for people travelling in peak direction […] many of them, as we know, 60 per cent, are travelling northbound to work in Richmond – they will experience no relief whatsoever on the day that this opens, as capacity will be exactly the same as it is today,” he says.

He says it doesn’t make sense to build a new crossing that doesn’t increase capacity.

“Counterflow is generally put in as a reactive measure to deal with infrastructure that doesn’t meet needs, so I believe it would be very unfortunate if a counterflow system had to be built on day one of this brand-new price of infrastructure, rather than planning for added capacity, which will meet future needs.”

Pitcairn believes going back to the previously-approved 10-lane bridge option would be the fastest, most affordable solution.