The Alex Fraser Bridge is one of the most congested bridges in Metro Vancouver. More than 119,000 vehicles use the Alex Fraser Bridge daily on average, rush hour is often a nightmare.
What’s more, the crossing is also the site of a great deal of collisions. The Delta Optimist reports that the bridge was the site of more collisions than in any other part of Delta with 923 incidents over the past five years.
On December 17th there was an incredible 5 car crash that resulted in a taxi being forced on top of another car. As a result, the Government of British Columbia has decided to introduce a seventh lane to the bridge in addition to a moveable barrier system.
Alex Fraser Bridge Project
Titled the Alex Fraser Improvement Project, the project includes the following:
- Adding a seventh lane to the bridge
- Adding an innovative new counter-flow moveable barrier system to improve capacity and help reduce traffic congestion during peak periods
- Installing 13 new dynamic message signs throughout the Lower Mainland – as part of a South of Fraser Advance Traveller Information System – so that road users know estimated delays on the four major Fraser River crossings (Alex Fraser Bridge, George Massey Tunnel, Port Mann Bridge and Pattullo Bridge)
“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. “Installing a moveable barrier system on the Alex Fraser Bridge will bring congestion relief for commuters who frequently use this crossing.”
The additional lane and new moveable barrier will allow for four lanes northbound and three lanes southbound during the morning rush hour. Four lanes southbound and three lanes northbound will be open at all other times.
The seventh lane will be added by reconfiguring the six existing lanes and removing the shoulders. In addition, the speed limit will be reduced from 90 to 70 kilometres per hour to accommodate the additional lane.
The ministry will be replacing the existing concrete barrier on the bridge with a moveable barrier. The barrier may then be moved to accommodate peak traffic periods with the help of a machine known as a “road zipper”. A similar system has been used on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge since 2015.
A new South of Fraser Advance Traveller Information System will give commuters real-time information about crossing delays. Up to 13 new dynamic messaging signs will allow drivers to make timely decisions about which route to travel. Similar signs show travel times at the Lions Gate Bridge and on Highway 1 before the Port Mann Bridge.
Suggested locations are marked in purple on the map: three signs along Highway 1, five signs along Highway 17, three signs on Highway 10, and signs on Marine Way and Knight Street.
The project’s total budget is just over $70 million, with the federal government contributing nearly $34 million and the B.C. government contributing just over $36 million.
Bridge users can expect to save about 12 to 16 minutes during the afternoon rush hour in the southbound direction and about 6 minutes during the morning rush hour in the northbound direction.