LANGLEY, B.C. – The British Columbia Trucking Association (BCTA) announced its support for the province’s proposed improvements to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a 10-lane bridge, as well as placing a toll on all Metro Vancouver bridge crossings and increasing the vertical clearance of overpasses to a minimum of 5.5 metres.
The BCTA’s Lower Mainland Transportation Issues Committee submitted its recommendations to the provincial government following a consultation process that ended Jan. 28.
The 10-lane bridge that would replace the George Massey Tunnel would see five lanes in each direction, an HOV/transit lane and separate lane for trucks and other slow-moving vehicles to help navigate the grade of the bridge.
The George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project aims to improve the capacity of Highway 99, which the BCTA says is an important goods movement corridor in the area.
With the potential move toward tolling all bridge crossings in the region, the BCTA said it would like to see a consistent vehicle classification system in place for tolling purposes.
The BCTA’s recommendations for the project were as follows:
• Build a 10-lane bridge in order to avoid congestion on opening day, and ensure the bridge can accommodate growth in traffic volume and goods movement throughout its life cycle;
• Toll all bridge crossings in Metro Vancouver to avoid significant traffic diversion to free alternative routes and as a move towards a mobility pricing scheme for transportation infrastructure;
• Use TransLink’s vehicle classifications (currently in place for the Golden Ears Bridge) for tolling purposes for the GMT replacement bridge and all other tolled crossings in the Lower Mainland;
• Institute a Traffic Advisory Committee similar to the one used successfully for the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project, including representatives from BCTA, in order to guide traffic management during construction of the new bridge;
• Include penalty clauses for congestion in the construction contract to assist with traffic management planning; and
• Increase vertical clearance of overpasses to a minimum of 5.5 metres to accommodate oversize loads and project cargo.
The BCTA said it received a request from the City of Kamloops to remind drivers to avoid excessive use of engine brakes while travelling northbound into the city on Highway 5A.
The City advised drivers to ‘exercise reduced engine braking to prevent excessive noise’ along the corridor, and said it has contacted the local RCMP requesting they take appropriate action.