Alex Fraser Bridge Improvement Project - Design
The Alex Fraser Bridge opened in 1986. It was built to meet the growing traffic demand and was originally designed to allow for the number of lanes to be increased. This reconfiguration will accommodate a seventh lane, so our Greater Vancouver landmark can continue to serve road users for the next 50 years.
When the bridge first opened, only four of the six lanes were used for traffic with the two outer lanes reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. In 1987 pedestrians and cyclists were moved to the perimeter of the bridge and 6 lanes were opened to accommodate increased traffic demand. Over 30 years later, the bridge now carries an average of 119,000 vehicles each day.
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. The speed limit will be reduced from 90 to 70 kilometres per hour to accommodate the additional lane. Cyclist and pedestrian access is not affected.
Counter-flow lanes allow us to increase traffic capacity by adding a travel lane in the direction where it is most needed. Counter-flow lanes are currently used on the Lions Gate Bridge and in the George Massey Tunnel to improve traffic flow during peak periods.
This project will introduce an innovative moveable barrier system that uses a special vehicle that travels along the bridge, moving the barrier prior to morning rush hour. A similar system has been used on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge since 2015. The moveable barrier system increases safety by providing a physical barrier between traffic moving in opposite directions.
It is anticipated that the counter-flow lane would be in place for similar hours to George Massey Tunnel counter-flow lane (5:45 to 9:15 a.m. from September to June and 5:45 to 8:45 a.m. in July and August).
Dynamic Message Signs
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.
The specific locations for the electronic bridge delay signs are being finalized. They will be located at key decision points allowing users enough time to change their travel plans.
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.