Preparations to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel with a bridge are rapidly underway.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued requests for proposals on Oct. 1 for four major, long-term contracts, just a week-and-a-half after Premier Christy Clark’s Sept. 20 announcement.
|Massey Tunnel (Highways B.C.)|
Clark revealed construction of the Richmond-to-Delta bridge would start in 2017, but she did not say in her Union of B.C. Municipalities convention speech what the budget would be or how it would be financed. Does government know all the answers and is it just too afraid to give us all sticker shock?
Companies hoping to win contracts for community relations and consultation, technical advisory, environmental management and owner’s engineer services have until Oct. 24 to file their bids. A rather short three-week window for something so complex. (UPDATE - Oct. 22): On Oct. 21, just three days before the bid deadline, the government extended the closing date for submissions by a week to Oct. 31.
Contract values were not disclosed in the tendering documents, but the terms run November 2013 to March 2022. The government has an option to extend each contract until 2024.
The George Massey Tunnel, opened in 1959, carries 80,000 vehicles a day and is Metro Vancouver's third busiest crossing.
“The existing four-lane tunnel is congested for 12 hours a day in both directions, with significant impacts for commuters, goods movers and tourists,” according to the RFP documents. “It is the only major Fraser River crossing in Metro Vancouver with a single lane of traffic in the off-peak direction during the daily commute.”
The owner’s engineer contract is the most complex, estimated to be 160,000 person hours for structural, traffic, geotechnical, seismic and electrical engineering.
“The contractor shall have extensive engineering experience in the development and delivery of large transportation infrastructure projects, including major bridge structures, in an urban environment,” said the RFP.
A two-year seismic upgrade costing $19 million finished in 2006.