The Deas Island traffic tunnel was built 20 kilometers south of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Construction began in 1957 and was opened to traffic on May 23, 1959. Dignitaries who attended the official opening on July 15, 1959, included Queen Elizabeth II.
The Deas Island Tunnel
In total, the Deas Island Tunnel cost $16.6 million to build and took two years to complete. As a four-lane highway, it was constructed to run under the south arm of the Fraser River estuary connecting the farming community of Delta to Richmond and beyond to the City of Vancouver. Once completed this subterranean highway became Canada’s lowest road surface and the first roadway in North American to implement immersed tube technology.
The George Massey Tunnel
In 1967 the Deas Island Tunnel was renamed the George Massey Tunnel. George Massey had been elected to British Columbia’s provincial parliament and served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for four years (1956 – 1960). Massey had been the biggest advocate to get a tunnel built to replace a ferry service that was used to shuttle traffic across the Fraser River.
The New Tunnel
As the Lower Mainland’s population increased over the coming decades, so did the traffic that passed through the George Massey Tunnel each day. Commuters have long wanted a new tunnel to replace the existing George Massey Tunnel to facilitate faster commutes. Recently the provincial government announced it would build a new eight-lane tunnel that would replace the George Massey Tunnel. No official start dates have been announced but 2030 has been identified as the completion date. Plans include decommissioning the old tunnel once a new tunnel is built.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology and Business Blogger
Vancouver, BC, Canada