Tolled Massey bridge most beneficial: TransLink report
A new government report showcases five options for the future of the George Massey Tunnel, including replacing the aging crossing with a new bridge. (PHOTO MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION)
TransLink says tolls are needed on the Massey Tunnel replacement bridge to maintain the percentage of people using transit to cross the Fraser River, according to a new report.
Additionally, that model of an eight-lane replacement bridge is the only one that would allow additional vehicle capacity past 2045. TransLink’s report is expected to be presented to Metro Vancouver on Wednesday.
Currently, about 12% of all trips made across the tunnel are on transit, which is lower than the regional average.
In its analysis, the transit authority said a replacement bridge without tolls, or keeping the Massey Tunnel, would drive bus riders away due to increased congestion — likely reducing transit share to 9%.
Without tolls, the report said that any additional capacity on a replacement bridge would be nearly eaten up in three decades. Not replacing the bridge would mean demand would exceed capacity by about 41% at that same time.
However, the analysis showed that a tolled crossing would still have about 24% capacity remaining in 30 years’ time, primarily because drivers would be turned away from the bridge and onto buses.
A tolled crossing would also maintain the transit trips crossing the Fraser at 12%.
“A new tolled crossing in 2045 may result in a trip time between 8th Ave in Surrey and the Oak Street Bridge decreasing about 10% relative to 2011,” said TransLink’s Tamim Raad in his report.
“Whereas both a new untolled crossing and the existing untolled tunnel may result in (the travel time of) trips increasing by about 10%.”