Construction is underway on upgrades meant to make transit more reliable and cycling more accessible along the Highway 99 corridor.
The work is part of the province’s Highway 99 Tunnel Program, a series of improvements aimed at reducing traffic congestion and improving transit and cycling infrastructure in advance of construction of a new eight-lane immersed tube tunnel to replace the aging George Massey Tunnel.
Bus-on-shoulder transit lanes are being added to Highway 99 southbound between Highway 17A and the Ladner Trunk Road off-ramp and northbound from Ladner Trunk Road to the existing start of the HOV lane. Eventually, the new lanes will tie into the new tunnel to improve transit reliability along the corridor.
“Extending bus-on-shoulder lanes will make trips by transit quicker and more reliable,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said in a press release. “This is the first step to provide relief to traffic congestion on the corridor leading to a new eight-lane toll-free tunnel.”
The new lanes are expected to be complete in 2023. The province warns some lane closures may be necessary as construction progresses — for updates, drivers are advised to check drivebc.ca.
Meanwhile, construction of the Bridgeport Road bus connection and improvements to the Highway 99/17A interchange are also set to get underway in early 2022.
This part of the tunnel program includes the creation of a new multi-use pathway from the Oak Street Bridge into the Richmond cycling and pedestrian network, improvements to the bicycle shuttle pullout on Highway 17A, and improvements to cycling facilities along Highway 17A, including new ramp crossings and better connection into the existing network.
Also part of the tunnel program is the Steveston Interchange Project. The new interchange will improve connections for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists while addressing the current bottleneck, which the province says will improve traffic congestion in the area once the new five-lane overpass opens in 2025.
The project is currently in the request-for-proposals stage, and assuming a successful contract award this spring, construction on the interchange is planned to begin in summer 2022.