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Garden residents concerned about impact of new bridge
News that the George Massey Tunnel is set to be replaced by a new bridge crossing from Deas Island has some residents in nearby Marina Garden Estates concerned.
The recently approved final phase of Marina Gardens will be built over a 10 year period, but the first phase will see construction on the eastern side along Deas Slough, nearest to where the bridge will undergo construction in 2017.
Stan Lawson, president of the Marina Garden Estates Homeowners Association, said there is a lot of talk about the bridge in the community.
He's concerned that property values in Woodward Landing and the area east of Admiral Boulevard will suffer.
Lawson wonders whether the province will have to expropriate land in the area closest to the bridge and what effect it will have on the current development plans.
"I am surprised that building right over top of the current tunnel is the announced option," he said. "I think many people in the Marina Garden area expected development either up or down from the Massey Tunnel. Although there would be a loss of some farm land I would have thought that the bridge would have been built up river at the north end of Deas Island."
Lawson said building over top of the Massey Tunnel will create traffic chaos during construction that would add to the one generated by the new homes being built by Captain's Cove Marina.
He said the association plans to look at the Alex Fraser bridge to see what impact its location has had on the businesses and homes that existed prior to the building of that crossing.
Bill Wheeler, a member the association's executive, said the bridge can't be built directly above the tunnel without interfering with current traffic.
"Either the towers get moved back well from the river’s edge, making it a much longer and more expensive span or the bridge is shifted east or west," he said, adding east likely isn't an option because of the existing River House restaurant and other buildings.
Wheeler said the vacant land where the final build of Marina Gardens is proposed is the obvious choice for where the new bridge approach should go.
Neil Chrystal, president of Polygon Homes, said the company will need to study the bridge design–which doesn't yet exist–to see how it may impact Marina Gardens.
"It would be a concern if the bridge is too high but we really do not know what the bridge design will be quite yet," he said. "I believe the design they have done is conceptual but we do intend to study it as it relates to the buildings we have proposed for the Marina Gardens site."
The Massey Tunnel Replacement project is expected to cost $3 billion, in line with the Port Mann/Highway 1 Project, and the tunnel will be removed to allow larger ships passage upriver. Detailed traffic modeling, including exploring the option of tolls, is expected to happen in the spring.