VANCOUVER - The Government of British Columbia has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for parties interested in delivering the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.
The project will be procured through a public-private partnership to design, build, partially finance, operate, maintain and rehabilitate the asset for a term of 30 years. According to the province, this procurement approach best provides value to taxpayers. The RFQ is the first of a two-phase procurement process. Following the RFQ, the government will request proposals from a shortlist of the three best-qualified teams in order to select a preferred proponent.
The procurement process for the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project follows the guidelines of the Capital Asset Management Framework, Ministry of Finance Core Policies and Procedures and Partnerships BC best practices, explains a release.
The province states safety benefits of the project include a design that meets modern seismic standards, unlike the current tunnel; additional lanes that make merging safer for all vehicles and will reduce collisions by an estimated 35 per cent; and wider lanes and shoulders that will improve safety and emergency response times.
The new bridge and associated highway improvements, including dedicated transit lanes, will cut some commute times in half and also improve travel-time reliability for the 10,000 transit passengers and more than 80,000 vehicles that use the tunnel each day.
Transportation Investment Corporation will undertake the project and recover project costs through user tolls. The private partner will be responsible for financing a portion of the capital costs of the project.
The estimated $3.5-billion project includes:
- construction of a 10-lane bridge with four general travel lanes and one dedicated transit/high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction;
- replacement of three interchanges at Westminster Highway, Steveston Highway and Highway 17A;
- widening of approximately 24 kilometres of Highway 99 to accommodate dedicated transit/HOV lanes from Bridgeport Road in Richmond to Highway 91 in Delta;
- replacement of the Deas Slough Bridge;
- construction of multi-use pathways on either side of the bridge for cyclists and pedestrians; and
- decommissioning of the tunnel.
It is estimated that about 9,000 direct jobs will be created over the life of the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project.
Construction will begin in 2017, with the bridge opening in 2022 and tunnel decommissioning in 2023.