Work is underway that will deliver more reliable transit and more accessible cycling to the Highway 99 corridor as part of the Highway 99 Tunnel Program.
The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is replacing the existing George Massey Tunnel on Highway 99 with a new, eight-lane immersed tube tunnel. The project includes bus-on-shoulder transit lanes, a new interchange and a multi-use pathway for cyclists and pedestrians.
The work currently underway includes adding southbound bus-on-shoulder lanes to Highway 99 between Highway 17A and the Ladner Trunk Road off-ramp and from Ladner Trunk Road to the existing start of the existing start of the high-occupancy vehicle lane on Highway 99. The ministry says the lanes will tie into the new tunnel once it is in service to improve transit reliability along the corridor.
“Extending bus-on-shoulder lanes will make trips by transit quicker and more reliable,” said B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming. “This is the first step to provide relief to traffic congestion on the corridor leading to a new eight-lane toll-free tunnel.”
M2K Construction Ltd. of Coquitlam was awarded the C$12.8-million (US$10.07-million) contract for construction of bus-on-shoulder transit lanes in late summer 2021. The new lanes are expected to be complete in 2023.
Another element of the project is the construction of the Bridgeport Road bus connection and improvements to the Highway 99/17A interchange that will also get underway early in 2022. This part of the Highway 99 Tunnel Program includes the creation of a new multi-use pathway from the Oak Street Bridge into the Richmond cycling and pedestrian network, improvements to the bicycle shuttle pullout on Highway 17A and improvements to cycling facilities along Highway 17A, including new ramp crossings and better connection into the existing network.
Lafarge Canada Inc. was awarded a C$5.28-million (US$4.15-million) contract for this work, which will improve access to the highway for transit and make for a faster commute from Bridgeport Station and the Canada Line.
A third component of the Highway 99 Tunnel Program, the Steveston Interchange Project, is also expected to begin construction in summer 2022. The project will improve traffic congestion in the area when the new five-lane overpass opens in 2025 and will improve connections for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, while addressing the current bottleneck. This project is in the request-for-proposals stage with a contract expected to be awarded this spring.