COQUITLAM (NEWS1130) – Premier Christy Clark today officially opened the new Port Mann Bridge to eight lanes of traffic, which could cut commute times.
This will also be the first time regular transit service across the bridge in 25 years.
“As we officially open the Port Mann Bridge we are eliminating one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in British Columbia,” said Premier Clark. “After years of waiting, drivers get to enjoy a faster, more efficient commute and will have more time to spend with their family instead of sitting in an idling car.”
Three years ago, the BC government set the target of a December 2012 opening, and Transportation Minister Mary Pollack says this is the day they have been waiting for, “as the new Port Mann Bridge officially opens to eight lanes of traffic and motorists can start to save some valuable time on their commutes.”
Pollack says it’s been a long wait. “It’s a day almost a decade in the making, from the first consultation to the final line painting, and I want to thank everyone who has laboured on this project.”
Construction will continue on the Port Mann Bridge and along the Highway 1 corridor through 2013. Crews will work to complete the bridge to its full 10-lane capacity and continue highway widening and interchange improvements through Coquitlam, Burnaby and Vancouver.
Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese is celebrating the opening of the much needed bridge.
He says the reduction of travel time will allow a lot of companies to save money.
“One hour on a truck, you’re looking at $60 to $100 an hour, that goes right back into the pockets of businesses, which direct goes into the economy, and that provides jobs.”
He says truckers and commuters will see a drop in their monthly fill ups at the pump.
Some Key Facts:
- The new bridge is an iconic structure – the widest bridge in the world; the largest and longest main span river crossing in Western Canada; the second longest (by mere metres) in North America and the 29th longest in the world.
- The towers stand approximately 75 metres above deck level, with a total height of about 163 metres from the top of their footing – that is taller than the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel.
- The bridge has 42 metres of navigational clearance above high waterlevel (the same length and clearance as the old bridge).
- The main span is supported by 288 cables, which if stretched end to end, would cover about 45 kilometres.
- The new Port Mann Bridge is five metres longer than the Alex Fraser Bridge and 25 feet taller.