The City’s top engineer is now recommending that there be no tunnel on Richmond as part of the Bus Rapid Transit plan, along with a number other changes.

The shift in direction comes as a detail tunnel design showed that costs would balloon from roughly $90-million to $220-million.

City Engineer Kelly Scher's new recommendations were detailed in a new report to council on Friday morning.

The proposed tunnel along Richmond had been facing stiff opposition from critics of the BRT plan and local businesses. Just this week a survey of downtown businesses found that 73 per cent were opposed to the current BRT plan with the tunnel being a primary concern.

Other recommendations to council issued in a new report (which can be found here under Staff Report Rapid Transit Corridors) include:

  • that the King Street/Queen’s Avenue couplet system be approved as the preferred downtown east-west corridors
  • that Richmond Street still be the preferred northern corridor through downtown
  • that an at-grade level crossing at the CP Railway with dedicated bus lanes be approved as the preffered cross section on the Richmond Street corridor at this time

The report notes that alternative methods to get around the CP Railway crossing should be evaluated as part of a long term plan but separated from the initial BRT business plan.

Watch CTV News tonight at 6 p.m. as we will have a full breakdown of the report and reaction from around the community.