Construction near the entrance to the Alex Fraser Bridge from Nordel Way. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Construction near the entrance to the Alex Fraser Bridge from Nordel Way. (Grace Kennedy photo)

Work begins on Alex Fraser Bridge counterflow lane

$70-million project is expected to be complete in fall 2018

Construction has begun on a new moveable counterflow lane on the Alex Fraser Bridge.

Crews started on the first phase of the project Dec. 4, working to to remove the existing cast-in-place concrete barrier and install a new traffic signal and lighting at the Nordel Way northbound on-ramp intersection. This work is expected to be completed at the end of May 2018.

After that, work will begin on the project’s second phase, modifying the existing six lanes on the bridge and removing the shoulders to bring the total number of travel lanes to seven, and installing a moveable barrier that can be shifted to accommodate peak traffic periods with the help of a machine known as a “road zipper.”

Lindsay Transportation Solutions, a U.S.-based subsidiary of Lindsay Corporation, will provide the moveable barrier and two road zippers, and will manufacture the components in California and Nebraska. The contract is valued at approximately $20 million.

The majority of the work will be done at night so as to minimize the project’s impact on traffic, and three lanes will remain open in each direction during the day.

The new counterflow lane is expected to be complete in fall 2018. To accommodate the seven lanes, the speed limit over the bridge will be reduced from 90 to 70 km/h. Cyclist and pedestrian access will not be affected.

The $70-million project, first announced on January 19, 2017 by then-Transportation Minister Todd Stone, will be partially funded by the federal government, to the tune of $33,965,000, through the provincial-territorial infrastructure component of its New Building Canada Fund. The province is picking up the tab for the remaining $36,125,000.

“Our government is committed to finding solutions that will reduce gridlock, so people can spend less time stuck in traffic and more time with their families,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena in statement released on Dec. 21. “Installing a moveable barrier system on the Alex Fraser Bridge will bring congestion relief for commuters who frequently use this crossing.”

Also included in the bridge improvement project will be 13 dynamic message signs to be placed strategically around Metro Vancouver to advise motorists in real time of delays on the four major Fraser River crossings: the Alex Fraser, Port Mann and Pattullo bridges and the George Massey Tunnel. That part of the project will go to tender in the spring of 2018.

According to the government’s webpage for the Alex Fraser improvement project, an average of more than 119,000 vehicles use the bridge every day, with drivers experiencing lines more than three kilometres long during rush hour.

Once work is complete, the ministry says, bridge users can expect to save about 12 to 16 minutes during the afternoon rush hour in the southbound direction and about six minutes during the morning rush hour in the northbound direction.

Rush hour congestion has been an ongoing source of frustration for regular users of the Fraser River crossing, prompting local and provincial governments to implement a number of projects and initiatives aimed at easing traffic both on and off the bridge.

In October 2016, the transportation ministry installed a traffic light at the Highway 91 southbound off-ramp to Cliveden Avenue on Annacis Island in order to dissuade drivers from using the industrial area as a means of bypassing bridge traffic. At the same time, Delta Police stepped up traffic enforcement on the island in the hopes of catching so-called bridge cheaters.

The tactic of southbound drivers using the long Annacis off-ramp, turning around on the island and then rejoining Highway 91 caused near-gridlock on the island, prompting businesses and employees to complain that their ability to move on or off the island is impeded, and Delta Police and Delta Fire to voice their concerns regarding access to the island in the event of an emergency.

In December 2016, construction began on a new interchange at 72nd Avenue that would eliminate the only traffic light on the Highway 91 corridor and a major choke point for traffic. Work is expected to last through to winter 2018.

Some drivers hoped the lifting of tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges on Aug. 31 would ease congestion on the Alex Fraser, but according a report by City of Delta staff released in November, that hasn’t been the case.

Citing transportation ministry numbers, the report says that while volume did increase on the Port Mann and Golden Ears — by 27 and 30 per cent, respectively — neither the George Massey Tunnel nor the Alex Fraser saw a noticeable change in traffic. The Pattullo Bridge, meanwhile, did see a 12-per-cent drop in traffic.

– with files from Katya Slepian and Jeff Nagel



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mike Cosic is taking over as Benchmark Botanics’ new CEO. (LinkedIn)
Pitt Meadow cannabis company names new CEO

Mike Cosic was previously the CFO of Meta Growth Corp

Chameleon Cafe, located in Maple Ridge, B.C., has a permanent street-side patio. (Black Press files)
Chamber of Commerce wants Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to move barriers to patios

Chamber president says struggling restaurants, bars and cafes don’t need additional red tape

Ken Dockendorf is president of the BC High School Boys Basketball Association. (THE NEWS files)
Administrators vote to change BC school sports governance

Maple Ridge coach says athletes won’t notice a change next season

Matt Trulsen of Maple Ridge went on from the PJHL to excel in junior college hockey in the U.S. (Dakota College at Bottineau/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge goaltender excels in U.S. junior college

Matt Trulsen, brother of the late Noah, calls community support ‘amazing’

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
LETTER: Industry very cautious when filming, Pitt Meadows woman argues

Women in film and TV sector lays out the COVID precautions, in response to a previous letter writer

FILE – Pharmacist Barbara Violo shows off a vile of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Friday, March 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Looking for the nearest COVID shot? Tech entrepreneur creates texting software in B.C

Zain Manji says app took just one or two hours to create

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Mike Haire, a former vice-principal at W. A. Fraser Middle School in Abbotsford, began court proceedings on Monday, May 3 in New Westminster for two child pornography offences.
Trial paused for former Abbotsford vice-principal charged with child porn

Judge reserves decision on admissibility of evidence against Mike Haire

Mary Kitagawa was born on Salt Spring Island and was seven years old when she was interned along with 22,000 B.C. residents in 1942. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds health services for survivors of Japanese internment

Seniors describe legacy of World War II displacement

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Meghan Gilley, a 35-year-old emergency room doctor and new mom was vaccinated from COVID-19 in January, while she was pregnant. She’s encouraging others to do the same. (Submitted)
‘The best decision’: B.C. mom encourages other pregnant women to get COVID-19 shot

Meghan Gilley, 35, delivered a healthy baby after being vaccinated against the virus while pregnant

Former Vernon Panthers football standout Ben Hladik of the UBC Thunderbirds (top, in a game against the Manitoba Bisons, <ins>making one of his 38 Canada West solo tackles in 2019</ins>), was chosen in Tuesday’s 2021 Canadian Football League draft. (Rich Lam - UBC Thunderbirds photo)
B.C. Lions call on Vernon standout in CFL draft

Canadian Football League club selects former VSS Panthers star Ben Hladik in third round of league draft

Low tide offered plenty of space for people to relax on White Rock's beach Sunday afternoon. (Aaron Hinks photo)
City of White Rock asking outside visitors to stay away

South Surrey residents encouraged to visit, while others urged to stick close to home

(File photo)
B.C. child-killer’s escorted-leave ‘beyond disappointing’: victim’s mother

Shane Ertmoed was convicted of first-degree murder in the 2000 death of 10-year-old Heather Thomas

Most Read