Alex Fraser Bridge zipper truck will give rush-hour relief

VANCOUVER — Northbound morning commuters on the Alex Fraser Bridge will have four lanes to choose from next week with the introduction of a moveable barrier system using a zipper truck.

The $70 million provincial and federal government project has resulted in six lanes being turned into seven slimmer ones. Since September, four lanes have been dedicated southbound. Next week, the zipper truck will start moving the barrier system each day to create four northbound lanes between 4:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.

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Northbound drivers will still need to merge from four to three lanes at the end of the bridge, at the Cliveden Avenue overpass just after the Annacis Island exit, whereas southbound, a new lane has been dedicated between Nordel Way and 72nd Avenue.

The project costs include strengthening the bridge to accommodate more load, a new counterflow signal system and traffic signage that will provide drivers with estimated travel times across the Alex Fraser Bridge, Port Mann Bridge, Pattullo Bridge and the George Massey Tunnel.

The bridge’s speed limit has been reduced to 70 km/h from 90 km/h to accommodate the slimmer lanes.

The zipper truck will take 20 minutes to move the barriers, which weigh 1,500 pounds each and are regarded to be just as safe as concrete barriers, said North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon.

Ongoing operating costs include maintenance of the barriers and two trucks (one backup) and staffing with two zipper truck drivers.

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