Motorists who got a 50 per cent discount to use the new Port Mann Bridge will pay a full $3 toll come December

Port Mann Bridge won’t have 10 lanes open when toll doubles

Officials say new Highway 1 lanes will cut congestion, justify $3 price as discounts expire

The Port Mann Bridge still won’t have all 10 lanes open when the toll that most drivers pay doubles to $3 per crossing in a few weeks.

Eighty per cent of motorists who use the bridge signed up early enough after it opened in December of 2012 that they’ve been paying $1.50 per crossing thanks to  a year-long 50 per cent discount.

That runs out next month but the bridge will still have only eight lanes open to traffic until next summer.

Transportation Investment Corp. spokesman Max Logan said that’s how long it’s expected to take to dismantle the old Port Mann Bridge and complete work to connect the final two outer lanes to the bridge approaches.

Charging full tolls on schedule is justified, he said, because all the extra lanes of the Highway 1 improvement project other than the bridge itself will be open in December through Coquitlam and Burnaby.

Since that’s where the bottleneck is, Logan said, drivers should notice a huge difference in congestion relief in return for the higher price of using the bridge.

“Drivers sail over the bridge right now,” Logan said. “Where they start to slow down is where they enter Coquitlam. So it’s really about being able to provide the full travel time savings.”

Logan wasn’t able to give an exact date for when the discount will expire and the $3 tolls kick in.

He said that will only happen when additional lanes through to the Cassiar Tunnel fully open, adding that’s still expected to be sometime in early December.

The agreement covering the bridge operations allows tolls to be raised for inflation each year, but Logan said the first such increase that won’t happen before December of 2014.

When all the bridge lanes are open next year they will also include dedicated local connection lanes that allow drivers to go between Coquitlam and Surrey without merging with general Highway 1 traffic.

“It will cut down on weaving and lane changing on the bridge,” Logan added.

The demolition of the old bridge is proceeding as planned, and crews will begin to dismantle the large iconic orange arch over the next couple of months.

Logan said engineers have also redesigned the system of brushes and scrapers that are winched up and down the cables in the event of snow and ice build-up to prevent any repeat of last winter’s notorious incident of ice bombs falling onto cars.

The sweeper system isn’t yet reinstalled, but Logan said it will be in place within a couple of weeks before any risk of snow.

ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said 350 claims were received for vehicle damage from the Dec. 19 falling ice episode and $400,000 was paid out.

The cable-clearing system has been paid for by the bridge’s builder, at no cost to taxpayers.

Just Posted

November 75 per cent drier than normal in Maple Ridge

Environment Canada weather station located in Maple Ridge records data

Onni starting site work for Phase 4 of Golden Ears Business Park

Developer offers Pitt Meadows a $1.5 million amenity ‘gift to the city’

Ridge kid teeing up a university golf career

Maple Ridge’s Kahlert signs with UBC

Maple Ridge child centre gets $120K reno help

New location after flash flooded out in 2018

RCMP investigating threats at two Maple Ridge high schools

General threat at Westview, individual targetted at SRT

Christmas concert at Maple Ridge secondary

More performances in the park this Friday and Saturday

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Investigators confirm three died in B.C. plane crash

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Planning price tag for futuristic ‘We Town’ concept in Abbotsford revealed

Developer says highrises would house 30,000, but Abbotsford mayor says project is in wrong place

Man accused of child sex crimes out on bail: Delta police

Gurchetan Singh Samra, 69, must stay away from — and not communicate with — anyone under 16 years old

1,300-signature petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

‘Go with the flow’ campaign calls for all University of the Fraser Valley bathrooms to be stocked

Most Read