Traffic on the new Port Mann Bridge has increased significantly over the last five years, with a spike experienced in the year after tolls were removed.
Data provided by the BC Ministry of Transportation shows there were average daily traffic volumes of 94,000 vehicles in 2014, 99,000 in 2015, 112,000 in 2016, and 122,000 in 2017.
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The provincial government removed tolls on the 10-lane bridge beginning in September 2017, and the impact on traffic volumes was reflected in a significant spike the following year.
In contrast to the relatively incremental year-over-year traffic growth of previous years, the average daily traffic volume on this Highway 1 bridge in 2018 reached 150,000 vehicles.
The removal of tolls on the Port Mann Bridge also appears to have had an impact on the traffic volumes on the nearby Pattullo Bridge, which saw an uptick in traffic after the 2012 opening of the Port Mann Bridge from drivers seeking an untolled, free route.
Average daily traffic volumes on the Pattullo Bridge were 69,000 in 2017 and 61,000 in 2018 — down from 74,000 in 2014, 77,000 in 2015, and 73,000 in 2016 when Port Mann Bridge tolls were fully in effect.
Further upstream on the Fraser River, tolls were also removed on the Golden Ears Bridge in September 2017 as part of the provincial government’s new policy to abolish tolling.
TransLink constructed the new bridge in 2009 and enforced tolls to help cover the construction and operating costs of the six-lane crossing between Maple Ridge and Langley, but annual revenues from tolls were short of projections for a number of years due to lower-than-anticipated traffic volumes.
According to data provided by the public transit authority, the Golden Ears Bridge’s average daily traffic volumes were 32,000 vehicles in 2014, 35,000 vehicles in 2015, and 37,000 vehicles in 2016.
Average traffic volumes increased to 42,000 vehicles in 2017, when tolls were removed at the start of September. Then in 2018, there was a spike to 55,000 vehicles during the first full year of the bridge converted into an untolled, free crossing.
Prior to the abolishment of tolls, drivers in a regular car, SUV, and pick-up truck were paying $3.15 for each trip across the Port Mann Bridge and Golden Ears Bridge. Larger trucks such as commercial vehicles paid $9.45 per trip.
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