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B.C.’s transportation minister says replacing the aging George Massey Tunnel with a 10-lane toll bridge will drastically reduce congestion on the busy commuter route.

 

Todd Stone said the three-kilometre bridge over the Fraser River will cost $3.5-billion, up $500-million from initial estimates.

 

The bridge will include an HOV lane in each direction, as well as a cycling lane and pedestrian access.

 

Construction will begin in 2017 and isn't expected to be completed until 2022.

 

The estimated toll costs to drivers have not been announced, but Stone said they would likely be comparable to those of the Port Mann Bridge.

 

Stone promised that the new bridge would reduce commute times drastically.

 

"The new bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel will improve highway safety, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from unnecessary idling, and save rush-hour commuters up to 30 minutes a day," said Stone.

 

"This will be the largest bridge ever built in B.C. When completed, it will address what is now the worst traffic bottleneck in the province and bring travel time reliability to one of our most important transportation corridors, serving national, provincial and regional economies."

 

The additional lanes will reduce collisions by 35 per cent because it will be safer to merge, said Stone.

 

The province says the current tunnel no longer meets seismic safety requirements, and many of its major components only have a decade of useful life left before they need to replaced.

 

The new bridge will accompany improvements on Highway 99, including new interchanges in Richmond and Delta.

Currently, more than 80,000 vehicles use the tunnel each day.

 

By Darcy Wintonyk MathesonSenior Digital Producer, CTV Vancouver

Published Wednesday, December 16, 2015 9:25AM PST 

 

(the original news if from: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/george-massey-tunnel-to-be-replaced-by-10-lane-toll-bridge-1.2702821

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