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B.C. starts bid process for $4.1B Massey traffic tunnel

The B.C. government has issued a request for qualifications to shortlist potential contractors to build the new eight-lane tunnel under the Fraser River
Massey Tunnel replacement project will link Richmond and Delta, B.C., with an 80 km-per-hour tube tunnel. | BC Government

The B.C. government has issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) to replace the six-decade-old George Massey Tunnel with a new $4.15 billion eight-lane, toll-free immersed “tube tunnel” under the Fraser River.

It will be another decade  before the project is complete.

“This is a major milestone in the project to replace the George Massey Tunnel,” said Rob Fleming, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This important project that will improve travel times and transit options for people who live on both sides of the Fraser River.”

The tunnel will link Richmond with Delta and replace a four-lane, vehicle-only tunnel that first opened in 1959.

It will take seven years to complete the tunnel and another three to finish the additional cycling and transit lanes, according to official time lines.

Following the RFQ, the province will issue a request for proposals (RFP) from a shortlist of qualified teams to select a single proponent to move forward in the procurement process.

Concurrently, the project is progressing through the province’s environmental assessment process. Corridor improvements and construction of a new five-lane Steveston Interchange are also underway.

The new crossing will be an eight-lane immersed tube tunnel with three general-purpose travel lanes and one dedicated transit lane in each direction. The new tunnel will have bike and pedestrian crossings. The project also includes replacing the existing Deas Slough Bridge as well as the addition of a southbound general-purpose lane on Highway 99 between Westminster Highway in Richmond and Highway 17 in Delta.

“With the new tunnel and approaches in place, travel will flow smoothly at 80 kilometres per hour, unlike the current average of 30 kilometres per hour,” according to a government press release.

The project will be constructed under a project labour agreement, similar to the Steveston Interchange. That $87.5 million contract was awarded in 2022 to Flatiron Constructors Canada Ltd., of Richmond, with completion expected in 2025. Flatiron is a subsidiary of German-based HOCHTIEF, one of the world's largest international construction service providers.

“The project labour agreement will support local jobs, apprentices and training opportunities, as well as maximize participation of groups under-represented in the construction sector,” the release added.

The cost of the George Massey Crossing immersed tube tunnel is approximately $4.15 billion, the government states. The eight-lane tunnel is expected to open in 2030, with the additional cycling and transit projects complete by 2033.