British Columbia Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry officials have shortlisted three teams to submit proposals for the $3-billion Fraser River Tunnel Project south of Vancouver. According to procurement documents, officials plan to sign a design early works agreement with the winning progressive design-build team by next spring.

The project is planned to include design and construction of a 2,625-ft-long, eight-lane immersed tube tunnel to replace the aging four-lane George Massey Tunnel, which carries British Columbia Highway 99 under the Fraser River between Deas Island and Richmond, B.C. 

The planned scope of work also includes replacement of the Deas Slough Bridge between Delta, B.C., and the island with a new 1,150-ft bridge, and construction of a new southbound lane on Highway 99 between Westminster Highway and Steveston Highway in Richmond. 

The shortlisted teams include Cross Fraser Partnership, which includes Bouygues Construction Canada Inc., Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas Canada Ltd., Pomerleau BC Inc., Arcadis Canada Inc. and Boskalis Canada Dredging and Marine Services Ltd.; Daewoo-GS JV, which consists of Daewoo Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. with GS Engineering and Construction Corp., Hatch Ltd. and Ramboll A/S; and Fraser River Tunnel Constructors, a team of Acciona Infrastructure Canada Inc., Aecon Constructors, Flatiron Constructors Canada Ltd., Strukton Immersion Projects BV, AECOM Canada Ltd. and Tunnel Engineering Consultants VOF.

The Massey Tunnel was completed in 1959, and today faces issues with reliability and traffic congestion, officials say. The aim of the current project is to eliminate those backups and increase the flow of traffic from the current average of 30 km per hour to 80 km per hour, plus to provide a separate active transit corridor.

The new tunnel is planned to include three general-purpose travel lanes and a transit lane in each direction, plus a path for pedestrians and cyclists. It would also be built to modern standards for seismic performance and to allow for greater vehicle clearances.

Rob Fleming, the province minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, said in a statement that the project would improve transit for people throughout the region and allow for better movement of goods.

“Advancing the new tunnel will also increase trade to the United States and support a vital link to Vancouver International Airport,” Fleming said.

Fraser_River_Tunnel_map_ENR.jpgThe tunnel project is part of the Highway 99 Tunnel Program. Map courtesy of British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

The environmental permitting for the project is ongoing but the progressive design-build delivery allows design to progress concurrently with the environmental assessment. The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure plans for construction to start in 2026 and complete in 2030. Decommissioning of the Massey Tunnel would follow after the new tunnel opens and is expected to take about two years.

The tunnel project is part of the Highway 99 Tunnel Program, which also includes other improvements along the corridor such as the addition of bus-on-shoulder lanes, off-ramp widening and reconstruction of an interchange. The interchange project is currently under construction by Flatiron Constructors Canada Ltd. and is scheduled for completion in 2025.