RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) — After a fatal crash shut down the Massey Tunnel for several hours, a Delta MLA says a safer replacement for the aging tunnel could have been much closer to completion.
Events like the crash are something South Delta BC Liberal MLA Ian Paton has been trying to contend with for many years.
“It’s really quite mindboggling that we have a corridor going from the United States border and all the different major businesses in Delta and South Surrey, such as the port, the BC Ferries, the Boundary Bay Airport, Tilbury Industrial Park, and this major corridor could be completely shut down for hours, if not days if we do have a horrific accident,” he says.
“If you get a terrible accident or fire going inside (the tunnel), it’s pretty much impossible for fire crews and ambulances to get in there. It’s just not a good situation when you’ve got a closed, contained tunnel like that trying to reach people that are in distress from a horrific accident.”
He says if plans for a replacement bridge hadn’t been scrapped, there could have been a more reliable crossing put in place by next year.
Paton adds millions had already been spent and the project would have offered a lot of jobs.
Plans for the 10-lane bridge replacement were scrapped more than two years ago.
It’s not clear what led up to Wednesday morning’s head-on crash and the investigation is ongoing, but it happened after the northbound lanes were closed for maintenance.
Following the fatal crash, social media posts have also been calling for a tunnel replacement.
— Pam Delfino (@PamDelfino) September 2, 2020
Another perfect reason and example of why a new crossing is needed. Condolences to all involved. https://t.co/IWB5Bg53Sk
— TripleDDD (@FeedbackFilter) September 2, 2020
It isn’t clear how badly hurt anyone else involved in the crash was hurt.
Traffic was tied up for hours when the tunnel shut down early Wednesday morning.
-With files from Martin MacMahon