While commuters started heading back and forth over the new 10-lane Port Mann Bridge three years ago, construction on the $3 billion project is now finally over.
It was officially known as the Port Mann / Highway 1 Improvement Project.
Before it was over, the work would also widen Highway 1, and improve interchanges and access along 37 kilometres of roadway from the McGill Street interchange in Vancouver to 216 Street in Langley.
On Thursday, B.C. Transportation Minister Todd Stone climbed to the top of the bridge to officially conclude the project declaring the bridge saves commuters, on average, 40 minutes a day in their commute, and was worth the expense.
"Without the builders and visionaries behind the Port Mann / Highway 1 project, drivers would still be bumper-to-bumper in Western Canada's worst bottleneck," he said of the largest highway construction project in B.C. history.
"Today, commuters and commercial drivers are saving valuable time — more than three hours a week compared to the Pattullo Bridge."
The new bridge is 2,020 metres long, making it the largest and longest main river-crossing span in Western Canada; the second longest (by mere metres) in North America and the 29th longest in the world.
The main span is supported by 288 cables, which if stretched end-to-end, would cover about 45 kilometres. In December of 2012 after the bridge originally opened to traffic, ice built up on those cables and crashed onto the deck below damaging some vehicles.
The Transportation Investment Corporation says up to 125,000 vehicles cross the bridge every day, but would like more so the project can be paid off by the 2050 deadline. Year-to-date traffic on the bridge is five per cent higher than in 2014 according to the provincial government,
Pedestrians and Cyclists
On July 1, cyclists and pedestrians were able to begin crossing the Fraser River using the bridge's three-metre wide, barrier-separated path.
Rates to cross the Port Mann bridge were increased in August, 2015, due to costs associated with building, operating and maintaining the new structure.
- Motorcycles $1.60
- Small vehicles $3.15
- Cube vans, cars with trailers $6.30
- Large vehicles $9.45