SURREY, B.C. — The new Port Mann Bridge will now be a single, 10-lane span, the B.C. government has announced.
“The new Port Mann Bridge will be a first-class, state-of-the-art connector to clear traffic congestion on a critical transportation link across the Fraser River,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “The new bridge will give truckers, transit users and commuters a faster, more efficient trip to and from their destinations, significantly cutting travel times and improving the movement of people, goods and services.”
Presently, congestion on the Port Mann Bridge is approaching 14 hours a day, which is harming the B.C. economy, the environment and quality of life, said Transport Minister, Kevin Falcon. “The Port Mann-Highway 1 Project will help travellers see a time savings of up to 30% due to reduced congestion. This is time better spent at their workplace or with their families.”
The capital cost of the project, including upgrades to 37 km. of Highway 1 on either side of the bridge, is approximately $2.46 billion, states the Ministry in a press release. The total cost, including operating and maintenance, rehabilitation and interest, will be released when the contract is finalized but is expected to be approximately $3.3 billion. Of that, the provincial government is financing $1.15 billion in the form of a repayable loan, which is being matched by bank financing. The proponent is putting forward its own equity to pay for the remaining $1 billion.
The full cost of the project will be financed through electronic tolls, which will be $3 each way for cars. The government retains control of the rate of the tolls. The project is expected to be complete by 2013.
The new bridge will replace the existing 45-year-old bridge. Once the new bridge is complete, the old bridge will be removed, saving at least $180 million in maintenance, rehabilitation and seismic upgrades that would have been required, states the Ministry.
The project also includes widening Highway 1, upgrading interchanges, and improving access and safety from McGill Street in Vancouver to 216th St. in Langley, a distance of approximately 37 km. One lane of highway will be added in each direction west of the new bridge, and two lanes in each direction east of the bridge, one of which will be an HOV lane.
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