Morning gridlock leaves Port Mann commuters fuming
Multiple crashes leave some questioning whether removing bridge tolls was a smart move
The Port Mann Bridge served as the the most expensive parking lot in the province during rush hour Tuesday morning.
Multiple crashes left traffic at a standstill and many drivers turned to Twitter to vent their frustration.
"Another day, another disastrous commute over the Port Mann Bridge," tweeted Scott Graham.
"Sooooo glad they abruptly removed the tolls, so traffic could dramatically increase causing major weekly pileups on the Port Mann #sarcasm," tweeted Kendall Marie.
Sgt. Roland Pierschke with RCMP Lower Mainland Traffic Services says about 10 vehicles were involved in a handful of collisions on Highway 1, leaving westbound traffic backed up well beyond 176 Street.
Pierschke says road crews have had their hands full with collisions since the B.C. NDP removed tolls from the bridge on Sept. 1.
"I haven't run the stats but anecdotally what's happening is — it may not be more numbers — but it's more people involved in [crashes], he said.
"So, instead of getting one and two car fender benders we're getting three and four car fender benders."
He says it took about an hour for crews to clear the bridge.
More cars, more problems
Traffic spiked by more than 25 percent on the Port Mann Bridge and there was also a substantial increase on the Golden Ears Bridge after tolls were removed on both crossings.
Transportation blogger and Langley city councillor Nathan Pachal says it stands to reason that when there are more cars on the road, there will be more crashes.
"When you have congestion, you increase driver frustration, which also increases risky behaviour," he said.
"That's not surprising, on top of, obviously — more vehicles, more crashes."
Pachal is one of many people in Metro Vancouver who believe the best way to address congestion in the region is to introduce an equitable road pricing strategy.
A commission is investigating mobility pricing and is expected to present its recommendations to TransLink and the Mayors' Council by the spring of 2018.