Nightly lane closures begin this evening as part of ongoing work to add an additional lane and eventual counterflow to the Alex Fraser Bridge.
Drivers are advised that two lanes — one in each direction — will be closed nightly beginning Tuesday, Aug. 6 and are expected to be continue until Aug. 18.
The closures will allow crews to continue working on improving capacity to the Alex Fraser Bridge with an additional lane and moveable barrier system. Crews will first remove the southbound painted lines and then begin applying the permanent lane lines for both directions of travel.
According a press release, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure expects the moveable barrier will be installed and all seven lanes — four southbound and three northbound — will be open to traffic by the end of August.
Adding the extra lane requires narrowing the existing six lanes by about six inches and eliminating the shoulders. As a result, the speed limit has been lowered to 70 km/h to help people merge effectively and move safely across the bridge.
Once the moveable barrier is installed, zipper truck operators — who have been training extensively within the ministry’s maintenance yard — will begin practising transferring the barrier from lane to lane on the bridge deck at night, outside of peak hours.
The final step of the project involves installing and testing the intelligent transportation system before the counterflow system (with the zipper truck in operation) goes live later this fall.
The moveable barrier system will allow four lanes northbound and three southbound during the morning rush hour, and four lanes southbound the rest of the time.
An average of 119,000 vehicles cross the Alex Fraser Bridge everyday, according to the ministry, with drivers experiencing lines more than three kilometres long during rush hour.
Once the counter-flow system is operational, the ministry expects drivers crossing the bridge will save 12 to 16 minutes during the southbound afternoon rush and about six minutes during the northbound morning rush.