January 19, 2017 2:12 pm
Updated: January 19, 2017 10:30 pm

New lane to be added to Alex Fraser Bridge by narrowing existing lanes

WATCH: The transportation ministry announces a new lane coming to the Alex Fraser Bridge to relieve traffic congestion. But critics wonder if the solution to traffic relief is the tolling all of Metro Vancouver crossings. Jill Bennett reports.

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A new lane is going to be added to the Alex Fraser Bridge by 2018.

This will be accomplished by narrowing the six existing lanes and removing the shoulders on the bridge.

A counterflow lane will also be added with the addition of a  moveable barrier. This will allow four lanes of traffic northbound during the morning rush hour and then four lanes of traffic southbound for the afternoon rush hour.

The barrier will be moved using a Road Zipper, something which is used on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, among other locations.

 

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The project, costing $70 million, with $24 million coming from the federal government, also includes adding 13 electronic signs placed throughout the Lower Mainland. These signs will give commuters real-time information about crossing delays on all four Fraser River crossings, including the Alex Fraser Bridge.

The project is expected to be completed in spring, 2018, and it’s estimated it could save commuters about 12 to 16 minutes during the afternoon rush and about six minutes during the morning rush.

“This project will help cut congestion on the Alex Fraser Bridge, which is important for commuters, for local businesses and for our trucking industry,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Projects like this create high-paying, family-supporting jobs, and through these strategic investments in our transportation infrastructure, we’re building a brighter future for B.C.”

About 119,000 vehicles on average cross the Alex Fraser Bridge every day.

“The length of rush hour queues is frustrating to say the least,” said Stone. “Many days the traffic is at a near standstill and that is bothersome for very good reason, for those who rely upon this crossing to get to work or to get their kids to daycare, to get to school, whatever it might be.”

“On an average weekday, traffic is backed up for there-and-a-half kilometres. That’s a lot of idling, that’s a lot of wasted time.”

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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