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Port Mann Bridge

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Port Mann Bridge (2012)
Coordinates49°13′16″N 122°48′46″W / 49.221031°N 122.812697°W / 49.221031; -122.812697 (Port Mann Bridge)
CarriesTen lanes of British Columbia Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway), pedestrians and bicycles
CrossesFraser River
Maintained byTransportation Investment Corporation (TI Corp)
Preceded byPort Mann Bridge (1964)
DesignCable-stayed bridge
Total length2,020 metres (6,630 ft)
Width65 metres (213 ft)
Height163 metres (535 ft)
Longest span470 metres (1,540 ft)
Clearance below42 metres (138 ft)
DesignerT.Y. Lin International International Bridge Technologies
Construction startFebruary 4, 2009
Construction endSeptember 17, 2015
Construction cost$820 million[1]
OpenedSeptember 18, 2012 (3 eastbound lanes) [2][3]
November 17, 2012 (2 westbound lanes) [4]
December 1, 2012 (4 lanes in each direction)[5]
Port Mann Bridge (1964)
Coordinates49°13′16″N 122°48′47″W / 49.221°N 122.813°W / 49.221; -122.813
CarriesFive lanes of British Columbia Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway)
CrossesFraser River
Maintained byBritish Columbia Ministry of Transportation
Followed byPort Mann Bridge (second, 2012)
DesignTied-arch bridge
Total length2093 m
Longest span366 m
DesignerCBA Engineering
Constructed byDominion Bridge Company, John Laing and Sons, Perini Pacific, [7] Western Bridge & Steel[8]
Construction start1959[9][10][11]
Construction end1963
Construction cost$25 million[1]
OpenedJune 12, 1964
ClosedNovember 17, 2012
(demolished October 2015)

The Port Mann Bridge is a 10-lane cable-stayed bridge, 90 km/h (55 mph) speed limit, in British Columbia, Canada, that opened to traffic in 2012. It carries 10 lanes of traffic with space reserved for a light rail line.[12][13]

The cable-stayed bridge replaced a steel arch bridge that spanned the Fraser River, connecting Coquitlam to Surrey in British Columbia in the Vancouver metro area. After its successor was opened to traffic, the old bridge was demolished by reverse construction, a process which took three years to complete.[14][15]



The original Port Mann Bridge opened on June 12, 1964. It was named after the community of Port Mann, through which the south end of the bridge passed.[16] The old bridge consisted of three spans with an orthotropic deck carrying five lanes (originally four lanes) of Trans-Canada Highway traffic, with approach spans of three steel plate girders and concrete deck. The total length of the arch bridge was 2,093 m (6,867 ft), including approach spans. The main span was 366 m (1,201 ft), plus the two 110 m (360 ft) spans on either side.[17] Volume on the old bridge was 127,000 trips per day.[18] Approximately 8 percent of the traffic on the Port Mann bridge was truck traffic.[19] The old bridge was the longest arch bridge in Canada and third-longest in the world at the time of its inauguration.

At the time of construction, it was the most expensive piece of highway in Canada. The first "civilian" to drive across the bridge was CKNW reporter Marke Raines. He was not authorized to cross, so he drove quickly.[20]

In 2001, an eastbound HOV lane was added by moving the centre divider and by cantilevering the bridge deck outwards in conjunction with a seismic upgrade.[21]


The old Port Mann Bridge with its replacement rising beside it

On January 31, 2006, the British Columbia Ministry of Transportation introduced the Gateway Program as a means to address growing congestion.[22] The project originally envisioned twinning the Port Mann Bridge by building a second bridge adjacent to it,[22] but the project was changed to building a 10-lane replacement bridge, planned to be the widest in the world, and demolishing the original bridge. While the old bridge was found to be in "excellent shape, it is a fracture-critical structure with a tension member that runs the full length of the bridge. If that fractures anywhere, the bridge’s structural safety can be compromised heavily...There is no built-in redundancy [in this type of bridge]. It only takes a little undetected fatigue crack to grow for 10 years and then a member eventually just snaps through one cold morning when the wrong size truck rolls over it”.[14]

Opposition to twinning plan


A number of groups lobbied to improve public transit rather than build a new bridge. Burnaby city council, Vancouver city council, and directors of the GVRD (now Metro Vancouver) passed resolutions opposing the Port Mann / Highway 1 expansion.[23][24] Opponents of the expansion included local environmental groups, urban planners,[25] and Washington state's Sightline Institute.[26]

Opponents argued that increasing highway capacity would increase greenhouse gas emissions and only relieve congestion for a few years before increased traffic congested the area again,[27] and that expanding road capacity would encourage suburban sprawl. The Livable Region Coalition urged the Minister of Transportation, Kevin Falcon, to consider rapid transit lines and improved bus routes instead of building the new bridge.[28] The David Suzuki Foundation claimed the plan violated the goals of Metro Vancouver's Livable Region Strategic Plan.[29]

Construction and cost


The Port Mann / Highway 1 project added another HOV lane along with cycling and pedestrian access. The multi-use pedestrian/bicycle path opened July 1, 2015.[30] A bus service was reintroduced over the Port Mann Bridge for the first time in over 20 years. However, critics claimed that the new bridge only delayed the reintroduction of bus service on the bridge.[31] The new express bus service is now operated in the HOV lanes along Highway 1 from Langley to Burnaby.[32]

The estimated construction cost was $2.46 billion, including the cost of the Highway 1 upgrade, a total of 37 kilometres (23 mi). Of this, the bridge itself comprised roughly a third ($820 million).[1] The total cost, including operation and maintenance, was expected to be $3.3 billion. Now that the new bridge is completed, the existing bridge, which was more than 45 years old, has been taken down.[33]

The project was intended to be funded by using a public-private partnership, and Connect B.C. Development Group was chosen as the preferred developer. The Connect B.C. Group included the Macquarie Group, Transtoll Inc., Peter Kiewit Sons Co., and Flatiron Constructors.[34] Although a memorandum of understanding had been signed by the province, final terms could not be agreed upon. As a consequence, the province decided to fund the entire cost of replacement.[35]

On September 18, 2012, the new Port Mann Bridge opened to eastbound traffic. At 65 metres (213 ft) wide, it was the world's widest long-span bridge, according to the Guinness World Records,[36] overtaking the world-famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, which, at 49 metres (161 ft), held the record since 1932. The Port Mann Bridge was overtaken by the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in 2013.

Dismantling of original bridge


Work to dismantle the old Port Mann Bridge began in December 2012. Crews removed sections of the bridge piece by piece in opposite order in which they were originally constructed, starting with the road deck, followed by the bridge approach's girders, and concluding with the steel arch. It was fully removed by October 21, 2015.[37]

New bridge

The new Port Mann Bridge with the old bridge fully demolished

The new bridge is 2.02 kilometres (1.26 mi) long, up to 65 metres (213 ft) wide, carries 10 lanes of traffic, and has a 42 metres (138 ft) clearance above the river's high water level (the same length and clearance as the old bridge). The towers are approximately 75 metres (246 ft) tall above deck level, with the total height approximately 163 metres (535 ft) from top of footing. The main span (between the towers) is 470 metres (1,540 ft) long, the second longest cable-stayed span in the western hemisphere.[citation needed] The main bridge (between the end of the cables) has a length of 850 metres (2,790 ft) with two towers and 288 cables. The new bridge was built to accommodate the future installation of light rapid transit.[38]



On February 10, 2012, during construction of the replacement bridge, an overhead gantry crane collapsed, causing a 90-tonne concrete box-girder segment to drop into the water below. While no one was injured, the accident delayed subsequent construction.[39] WorkSafeBC inspectors evaluated the safety practices on the construction site.

On December 19, 2012, cold weather caused ice to accumulate on the supporting cables, periodically dropping to the car deck below, dubbed "ice bombs".[40] ICBC, the vehicle insurance entity in British Columbia, reported 60 separate claims of ice damage during the incident. In addition, one driver required an ambulance due to injuries. The RCMP closed the bridge between 1:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. while engineers investigated.[41] The Government installed collars on the cables that are manually released when conditions for ice accumulation are expected. They are installed on the tops of the cables on the towers and are released, falling down the cables by gravity to remove any snow build up.[42]

During December 2016, "slush bombs" affected the bridge again though the BC Government stated that these weren't as severe as the 2012 "ice bombs."[43] During December, the bridge was closed due to the threat of falling snow off of the cables and possible icy conditions.[44]

Tolling (2012–2017)


In order to recover construction and operating costs, the bridge was electronically tolled when originally built. The toll rates increased to $1.60 for motorcycle, $3.15 for cars, $6.30 for small trucks and $9.45 for large trucks on August 15, 2015.[45] Through increased prices and greater traffic, Transportation Investment Corporation (TI Corp), the public Crown corporation responsible for toll operations on the Port Mann Bridge, forecast its revenue would grow by 85% between fiscal years 2014 and 2017.[46] These fees were assessed using radio-frequency identification (RFID) decals or licence plate photos. A B.C. licensed driver who owes more than $25 in tolls outstanding 90 days is penalized $20 and is unable to purchase vehicle insurance or renew drivers permits without payment of the debt.[47] Out-of-province drivers were also contacted for payment by a US-based contractor.[48] A licence plate processing fee of $2.30 per trip was added to the toll rate for unregistered users who did not pay their toll within seven days of their passage.[49] Monthly passes, which allowed unlimited crossing on the bridge, were available for purchase.[50] Users may have set up an account for online payment of tolls.[51] Users who opted for this method received a decal with an embedded RFID to place on their vehicle's windshield or headlight and avoid paying a processing fee.[52] Tolls were expected to be removed by the year of 2050 or after collecting $3.3 billion.[53] As announced by B.C. Premier John Horgan in August 2017, all tolls on the Port Mann Bridge were removed on September 1, 2017, though despite this the toll equipment remained. Debt service was transferred to the province of British Columbia at a cost of $135 million per year.[54]

Year[55] Annual toll revenue Annual expenditures
2012 $15.0 million $14.0 million
2013 $94.0 million $20.0 million
2014 $122.0 million $19.0 million
2015 $136.0 million $18.0 million

Traffic volumes


Monthly mean weekday traffic

As of January 2019[56]
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
January 95,200 92,200 96,900 103,000 112,000 146,000
February 100,900 94,300 101,700 107,500 111,200 149,000
March 104,000 98,200 104,000 109,900 118,600 156,000
April 106,400 101,400 105,000 116,600 122,500 160,000
May 107,500 103,700 108,500 132,700 123,400 163,000
June 108,900 106,300 112,300 139,100 127,800 167,000
July 111,000 107,700 111,800 139,200 130,000 167,100
August 112,700 110,600 112,100 140,400 133,200 158,127
September 107,600 106,600 110,900 126,300 153,700 156,443
October 107,000 104,700 110,900 120,500 156,000 156,632
November 102,800 101,500 107,100 119,000 151,300 150,627
December 95,000 97,500 104,100 108,700 142,900 144,223

Total monthly traffic (in millions)

As of January 2019[56]
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
January 2.78 2.66 2.74 2.89 3.08 4.21
February 2.65 2.42 2.74 2.89 2.79 3.70
March 3.00 2.71 2.90 3.16 3.41 4.52
April 3.01 2.83 2.94 3.27 3.29 4.45
May 3.16 2.98 3.11 3.72 3.58 4.79
June 3.04 2.95 3.17 3.89 3.57 4.67
July 3.33 3.18 3.24 4.00 3.75 4.84
August 3.04 3.25 3.21 4.08 3.79 4.90
September 3.02 3.02 3.12 3.43 4.36 4.69
October 3.02 3.05 3.23 3.36 4.49 4.85
November 2.86 2.77 2.95 3.23 4.24 4.51
December 2.78 2.85 3.02 3.01 4.43 4.47

See also



  1. ^ a b c Richard Gilbert (January 16, 2012), Engineer questions the decision to replace Port Mann bridge, Journal of Commerce, archived from the original on January 3, 2015, retrieved August 6, 2014
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  3. ^ Nagel, Jeff (September 5, 2012). "Sept. 18 set for first crossings of new Port Mann". Peace Arch News. Peace Arch News. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  4. ^ Luba, Frank (November 13, 2012). "Drivers switch to new Port Mann Bridge as of this Saturday". Wilderness Committee. Wilderness Committee. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
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  6. ^ "Facts & Trivia". Pmh1project.com. Archived from the original on September 17, 2012. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
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  8. ^ British Columbia Department of Highways (1962). Minister of Highways Report for the Fiscal Year 1960/61 (Report). Victoria: Government of British Columbia. p. 62 (I 62). doi:10.14288/1.0363080. J110.L5 S7; 1962_V01_13_I1_I159. Retrieved December 2, 2022.
  9. ^ "60 MPH to Hope in 1962". The Province. July 18, 1959. p. 29. ProQuest 2369054564. The first multi-million dollar contract for the Port Mann crossing, three miles east of the Pattullo bridge, was awarded last week.
  10. ^ "$7,295,000 Span Contract Awarded". The Province. August 25, 1959. p. 2. ProQuest 2369081808.
  11. ^ "Bridge Pier Contract Let". The Sun. August 26, 1959. p. 20. ProQuest 2243691725. Construction of the four-lane bridge is expected to begin within a week.
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  50. ^ "Ways to save". Treo. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
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  54. ^ Lindsay, Bethany (August 25, 2017). "Tolls to be eliminated on Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges". CBC News. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
  55. ^ "Transportation Investment Corporation 2015/16 ANNUAL SERVICE PLAN REPORT" (PDF). TI Corp. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  56. ^ a b "Traffic volumes - Transportation Investment Corporation". Transportation Investment Corporation. Retrieved November 11, 2019.