Doug Massey the son of George Massey (for whom the Massey Tunnel is named) spoke on radio regarding the memo and report prepared on options for the Massey Tunnel.  Mr. Massey had asked the previous provincial government in a Freedom of Information Request for information on potential options for a submersive tunnel. Mr. Massey received no information from his inquiry.  However  the report has now been released under the new Provincial government and the new Minister of Transportation, Claire Trevena. You can read the  April of 2013 TEC (Tunnel Engineering Consultants)  60 page presentation to Provincial staff here.
Massey TEC 4 april R2
The presentation from TEC includes an introduction to the Tunnel Engineering Consultants, some of their work (they are one of the leaders in tunnel technology in the world), specific observations on the Massey Tunnel, an outline of issues and considerations, and a section for “discussion”.
Despite what the previous Provincial government has said, this presentation notes that submersive tunnels can be safer than open highways, with separation of traffic flows, an escape gallery and good design and traffic control and management systems. The presentation highlighted the Busan and Geoje Island bridge/tunnel fixed link in South Korea, which is an eight kilometers long and is one of the deepest tunnels in the world because of a  major navigational channel. With  unfavourable ground, wave action and seismic conditions new techniques were used to create this tunnel which has been in successful operation since 2010.
In examining the Massey Tunnel, TEC looked at the various options for placing a new submersive tunnel. Those options included maintaining the existing crossing, replacing the crossing with a new tunnel or a bridge, maintaining the tunnel and building a bridge or new tunnel, and also maintaining the tunnel and building a new crossing in a new location. TEC prepared cross-section layouts, and looked at options for the future use of the existing tunnel. TEC recommended the use of a type of  tunnel similar to that used in the Femern tunnel providing an 18 kilometer submersive tunnel between Demark and Germany.
As described in the previous memo on Price Tags Vancouver, Provincial government staff saw this presentation and this submersive tunnel technology as an “eye opener”. There are however no cost estimates contained in this documentation to give a sense of the costs of building this tunnel, or what the thought process was for the Province to have dismissed this option.


  1. The most important part of this presentation is on what could be done with the existing tunnel, including adding bike / pedestrian access by converting the ventilation tubes. Check it out on page 59 of the pdf! You can’t build your way out of congestion, and the people carrying capacity of the existing tunnel can be greatly increased by adding more and better bus service. Upgrade the existing tunnel!

    1. Yeah right. More buses won’t cut it to get folks out of their cars. It is THE major north-south highway incl US access and access to SFPR and eventually Hwy 1 further east. it is FAR too narrow. 6 lanes minimum, likely with 4+2 directional options in rush hour. Tolled, like all highway crossing or bridges ought to be in MetroVan.
      The cheapest obviously is to add one more tunnel so 6 traffic lanes in total. It could include a narrow, separated 1m strip for bikes or peds on each side (not that there are that many, so it needs to be minimalist).
      Unclear why this is not done fast ?

      1. Because as soon as you do it:
        1. More people will use the increased capacity and it will be clogged again.
        2. More people will move to where there is new road capacity and it will soon be clogged again.
        3. Bridges across the North Arm will become even more clogged than they are already
        A 1m strip for bikes “is FAR too narrow”.
        A 4m shared path would probably suffice. But it must be in a separate tube because the noise would be unbearable in the MV tube.

      2. Why not simply start by tolling the tunnel and adding bus service? This will very likely clear up any congestion. If not, then raise the tolls and improve the bus service. Why should we encourage ever more SOV traffic? Why should I have to pay for this?

    1. Note the very shallow water depth. Not deep enough for the Fraser River. But in principle that is what makes sense here: one more tunnel, in addition to the existing 2 tunnels, with 2.5 lanes (ie 2 lanes plus 2 narrow strips for bikers/peds .. or perhaps even 4.5 lanes for minor extra cost)

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