Port Mann Bridge

The heart of the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project is the new Port Mann Bridge.

At 10 lanes wide and 2,020 metres long, it is the largest and longest main span river crossing in Western Canada and the second longest in North America. The bridge’s 65 metre width makes it the second widest bridge in the world.

Between 100,000 – 115,000 vehicles cross the Port Mann Bridge every day, making it one of the busiest crossings in Western Canada and one of British Columbia’s most important economic corridors.

Replacing 1960s infrastructure

The new Port Mann Bridge has doubled the capacity of the original structure and relieved the worst bottleneck in Western Canada.

Congested more than 14 hours a day, the bridge would routinely experience queues backed up to Langley in the morning rush and Burnaby in the afternoon.

The original bridge opened in 1964 when the population of the Metro Vancouver region was just 800,000. Today, the crossing serves that many drivers in any given week. The new bridge easily accommodates the more than 2.2 million people who now call Metro Vancouver home, and has room for the additional 1 million expected over the next 30 years.

The new bridge has been built to modern safety standards that improve the speed and efficiency of the crossing. Separated lanes for Highway 1 through-traffic and drivers heading to Coquitlam and Surrey eliminate unnecessary lane changes and weaving on the bridge. Dedicated high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and improved reliability have allowed for the first transit service over the bridge in 25 years.

The new Port Mann Bridge includes a 3-metre wide multi-user path, the first-ever cyclist and pedestrian pathway on the Port Mann. The cycling route connects Surrey to Coquitlam, providing major new cycling infrastructure and new transportation options.

TReO toll point

The Port Mann Bridge was the most expensive part of the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project, representing more than half the total project cost. The old bridge was also the cause of the worst congestion along the corridor, and bridge users benefit the most from the Project improvements.

Research indicates that a single-point toll is the most effective means of maintaining efficiency and managing traffic. Tolling portions of the highway can have the effect of encouraging vehicles to leave the highway and use neighbourhood streets to avoid paying the toll.

For these reasons, the new Port Mann Bridge was chosen to be the toll point on the corridor.

Dismantling the original bridge

Construction of the new 10-lane Port Mann Bridge required the removal of the original 1964 bridge.

The footprint for the new bridge overlapped sections of the old bridge’s approach spans, and studies concluded that in the long term, removing the original crossing would be more cost effective than upgrading and maintaining it. Plans to twin the original crossing with a second five lane bridge were abandoned early in the planning phase in favour of one new, 10-lane crossing.

Dismantling the original bridge began in December 2012 and concluded in late 2015. Sections of the bridge were removed in more-or-less opposite order in which they were built.

Materials from the original bridge were recycled wherever possible, including more than 18,000 tonnes of structural steel.

Click here to read an April 2014 Construction Update on the bridge’s dismantling.

Key facts: Port Mann Bridge

  • Western Canada’s largest and longest main span river crossing
  • It has three main components:
    • The cable-stayed main bridge (between the ends of the cables) across the Fraser river is 850 metres long (470 metres long between the two towers), and has 288 cables
    • South approach (Surrey side), which is 360 meters long
    • North approach (Coquitlam side), which is 820 meters long
  • Two towers stand 75 metres above deck level, with a total height of 158 metres from the top of their footing – that’s taller than the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel.
  • 42 metres of navigational clearance above high water level
  • 65 metres wide, including 50 metres of roadway (including shoulders), five-metre-wide multi-use path, with three metres of clearance for pedestrians and cyclists, and 10-metre gap/median where pylons support the two bridge decks
  • 10 lanes, five in each direction
  • Main span supported by 288 cables which, if stretched end to end, would cover about 45 kilometres
  • Foundations for the new bridge required use of the largest capacity piles (up to 5,000 tonnes capacity) in Canada
  • Compared to the Alex Fraser Bridge, the new Port Mann Bridge is five metres longer and 7 metres taller