THE northbound Steveston off-ramp on Highway 99 has been lengthened by almost half a kilometre to improve the flow of traffic exiting the Massey Tunnel. Final line-painting is underway to ready the longer off-ramp for use beginning Monday, January 20, the province announced on Thursday.

The improved Massey Tunnel / Steveston Highway northbound off-ramp is opening ahead of schedule. It will increase the off-ramp’s vehicle capacity, which will help alleviate congestion on the highway by removing more cars from the Highway 99 queue.

This is an interim solution to improve safety and reduce Highway 99 congestion for motorists at this location until the replacement for the Massey Tunnel is completed.

As work on the George Massey Tunnel replacement progresses, the public can visit the George Massey Tunnel Project community office to get more information on the project. The community office is now open Monday to Friday at 2030 – 11662 Steveston Highway (Ironwood Plaza) in Richmond.

Engineering and technical work continues to develop a project scope and business case for a new bridge to replace the tunnel, along with associated Highway 99 corridor improvements. The new bridge will improve access and travel times for commuters and transit, and open the corridor up to future rapid transit options. Construction will begin in 2017.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone said: “We delivered on our promise on the Port Mann Bridge and South Fraser Perimeter Road. We’re now moving ahead on work to fix the next of the Lower Mainland’s traffic bottlenecks, by replacing the Massey Tunnel. Construction of the new bridge will begin in 2017. In the interim, this extension to the Highway 99 Steveston off-ramp will help alleviate some of the northbound congestion during the morning commute.”