The northbound view inside the George Massey Tunnel.

Massey Tunnel unsafe for crash responders: report

Transportation minister says new Massey bridge would cut crash rate by 35 per cent, reduce risks

The constraints of the George Massey Tunnel don’t reliably allow for rapid or safe emergency response to crashes, according to a report by Delta first responders.

The findings are being brandished by Transportation Minister Todd Stone as further evidence of the benefits of the proposed new toll bridge to replace the tunnel.

“The report details just how difficult and dangerous it is to provide an emergency response in the confines of the tunnel,” Stone said. “It notes instances of where first responders have had to walk in to help people, or carry in jaws-of-life and other equipment as their vehicles couldn’t get close.”

Access is limited both by chronic congestion and the lack of a shoulder lane so fire trucks or ambulances can bypass other traffic, according to the report.

“This can cause significant delays in the provision of critical care,” the Delta report said, citing cases where crews couldn’t get close enough except on foot, or where they had to wait for traffic to clear the counterflow lane.

There are an average of 300 crashes a year at the Massey Tunnel, more than 40 per cent higher than the provincial average for other stretches of highway, and the crash rate is double the provincial average for northbound traffic.

A fire in the tunnel can threaten crash victims, the report said, and also pose health and safety risks for emergency responders, who have had to enter the tunnel despite heavy black smoke on some occasions.

It gave the example of a fatal collision involving a car explosion that filled the tunnel with smoke.

“Responding police officers could not breathe due to the smoke, resulting in delays and health concerns for officers.”

The tunnel is not expected to withstand a major earthquake, while the transportation ministry says the new bridge would be built to modern seismic standards.

Stone said more space and better sightlines on the bridge are expected to reduce crashes by 35 per cent, and allow faster and safer emergency response.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson, the lone Metro Vancouver mayor in strong support of the $3.5-billion bridge project, has previously argued emergency response is a key point in favour of the tunnel replacement.

Just Posted

Kodiaks begin best-of-seven series strong

The Kodiaks opened their quarter-final playoff series by defeating the Delta Ice Hawks on home ice.

Abbotsford goes up 2-0 on Langley

Pilots win both games on home ice, series now shifts to Langley

Heritage proposal for Aldergrove fire hall at a ‘standstill’

The Alder Grove Heritage Society faces a delay in knowing the fate of the fire hall due to tenants slated to live in the building until 2020.

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

BREAKING: Plecas won’t run in next election if legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

VIDEO: Langley hosting high-flying fun at annual gymnastics tournament

Action runs Friday through Sunday at the Langley Events Centre fieldhouse.

Ammonia leak shuts down curling club in Nelson

It’s not yet clear when the leak was detected

Pavelski’s 31st goal helps Sharks top Canucks 3-2

Vancouver one point out of second NHL wild-card spot

Stabbing at Lower Mainland banquet hall sends man to hospital

RCMP says victim has ‘non-life threatening’ injuries, incident still under investigation

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Most Read