A new Port Mann Bridge will be a single 10-lane span and not a twinned bridge as originally planned, B.C.’s premier and transportation minister confirmed yesterday.
The project, which includes 37 kilometres of highway upgrades from McGill Street in Vancouver to 216th in Langley, carries a capital cost of $2.46 billion.
With operating, maintenance, rehabilitation and interest, the total cost rises to $3.3 billion.
“Congestion on the Port Mann Bridge is approaching 14 hours a day,” said Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon. “It’s harming our economy and it’s harming our quality of life.”
The bridge will be completed by 2013 and its construction should create 8,000 jobs.
Three years ago, when plans to twin the bridge were first announced, the cost was estimated at $1.5 billion (which Falcon said is actually about $2.1 billion when a $230-million contingency is added and the total is adjusted for inflation).
“It is an increase,” said Falcon. “From $2.1 to $2.46 billion. But it is an increase that is being invested upfront so that there will be savings over the long term.”
The new bridge, he added, has a 100-year design life and will not require seismic upgrades. It will be designed to allow for rapid transit —light rail or light rapid transit — sometime in the future.
The province will provide $1.15 billion in financing. That amount will be matched by bank financing.
Connect B.C., the company that will build and operate the bridge for 40 years, will put up the remaining $1 billion.
The bridge will be paid for by electronic tolls, which will start at $3 per trip on opening day and increase by about 2.5 per cent annually for 40 years.
The tolls will not apply to transport trucks, taxis nor transit and will be removed at the end of the 40-year contract.