B.C. Hydro calculates costs in halting Massey bridge job
VICTORIA — B.C. Hydro has quietly begun the process of calculating what it would cost to cancel its part in the multi-billion-dollar George Massey Tunnel replacement project.
The Crown agency has asked contractors to figure out how much they would charge to abruptly stop work on moving two transmission lines from inside the Massey tunnel to an overhead line near the proposed new 10-lane bridge, which was announced five years ago when the Liberals were in power in Victoria.
Two contractors are doing ground improvement and deep foundation work for the new transmission line.
Hydro said it’s just being prepared in case the government decides to scrap plans to build the $3.5-billion bridge.
However, it raises questions about whether Hydro, which recently had its board and management shuffled by the NDP, has any inside knowledge of the government’s intentions.
“We’ve informed our contractors that, as a precaution, we’re preparing for the possibility of having to suspend the currently scheduled construction work and have asked for them to identify costs related to suspending their work,” said Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott.
The NDP government has said it would review the future of the megaproject and the party was a sharp critic of the proposal while in opposition. Premier John Horgan has said the bridge is not supported by Metro mayors, who have other transit projects they want his government to fund first.
Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said last week that she had met the mayors of Delta and Richmond, and the head of the Metro Vancouver board to talk about what the government should do.
“As we committed throughout the campaign, we want to review the project, we want to take into account what the mayors and local people think about the project and possibilities,” Trevena said.
“We acknowledge there is a big problem of congestion throughout the (Highway) 99 corridor, but we want to find the best solution and that’s what we’ve been doing is taking our time…”
So far, around $70 million has been spent on engineering work, geotechnical work, public consultation, land procurement and site clearing, including work for the future widening of Highway 99, according to the Ministry of Transportation. These contracts wrap up in September, and then there’s a pause until Oct. 24. That’s the deadline to pick the winning proposal among three shortlisted companies. The unsuccessful teams get $2 million each.
“We want to review the project, we want to take into account what the mayors and local people think ...” — Transportation Minister Claire Trevena