New 7th lane now open to traffic on the Alex Fraser Bridge

Sep 16 2019, 1:10 pm

A new counterflow lane on the Alex Fraser Bridge is now open, the BC government has announced.

Originally slated to open in the spring of 2018, the opening of the new lane – which involved the narrowing of the bridge deck to accommodate the additional seventh lane of traffic – was delayed to the fall of that year, before being delayed agin to this fall.

Over the weekend, the province announced that four lanes are available for southbound traffic, with three lanes remaining for northbound.

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As part of the project, an extra lane through a moveable, zipper-like barrier system will be provided for counterflow, and it will provide more traffic capacity for the peak hour directions.

The Ministry of Transportation said that currently, “work continues on the intelligent transportation signs needed for the counter-flow operation, and the ministry expects the zipper truck-barrier transfer system to be in place later this fall.”

Such a system is similar to the zipper-like counterflow barrier system on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Alex Fraser Bridge

The Alex Fraser Bridge’s counterflow lane will be similar to the moveable zipper-like barrier system on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. (Party Of The Third Part / YouTube screenshot)

Two other crossings in the region – the Lions Gate Bridge and the George Massey Tunnel – also use counterflow lanes systems, but their lane directions are controlled by boom gates at the entrances of the crossings.

Other work as part of the $70-million project includes new traffic signals at the Nordel Way interchange and the extension of the two-lane northbound on-ramp to make it easier for vehicles to access the bridge.