COWI wins George Massey tunnel engineering contract
By Adam FreillConstruction Infrastructure Roads
New tunnel will boost trade and travel across the Metro Vancouver Region.
International engineering consulting group COWI has been awarded a $15 million contract from the Province of British Columbia as the owner’s engineer of an eight-lane immersed tunnel on Highway 99 to allow for transit across the Fraser River. The project will provide more capacity for drivers and transit users, while also providing walking and cycling options through the crossing for the first time.
The new tunnel will have three general purpose traffic lanes and one dedicated bus lane in each direction, as well as a bi-directional multi-use cycle path/pedestrian walkway to improve travel across the river without restricting navigable space for marine traffic. COWI will provide the reference concepts and geotechnical underpinning for the $4.15 billion river crossing.
Drawing on its experience designing the original George Massey tunnel in 1959, COWI will conceptualize and oversee removal of the original four-lane tunnel and construction of its eight-lane replacement.
COWI has the ability to draw on international expertise from its offices around the world to create pioneering flood control systems around the new tunnel that can withstand extreme river flows as well as anticipated increased sea levels.
The firm has experience designing immersed tunnels under different types of conditions around the world, including the world’s longest immersed tunnel for motorists in China and the first immersed tunnel designed against typhoon waves in South Korea.
“It’s projects like these that light up the engineer inside each of us,” said Darryl Matson, senior project director for the George Massey project at COWI in North Vancouver. “We are very passionate about this project as it lies in the backyard of our local team. We use it frequently so we know what a difference we can make to the community.”
The highway is a major transportation link in the region.
“With engineering challenges, such as minimising disruption to local ecosystems during construction and ensuring the final tunnel will stand up to natural disasters, it will both test and showcase our talented engineers,” he added. “The tunnel will break new ground with a dedicated pathway for cyclists and pedestrians and a dedicated bus lane alongside road traffic, helping create cleaner transport and bringing huge trade and travel benefits to the local communities.”