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July 3, 2012 - The final, centre gap in the new Port Mann Bridge was closed, a major construction milestone that completes the bridge deck and superstructure required to open the bridge to traffic this December. When the new bridge opens, drivers can expect to save up to an hour off their daily commutes.
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom was one of the first to cross the new connection, walking from the Coquitlam side of the bridge to Surrey over the newly placed steel girders and concrete deck panels.
The steel girders that closed the centre span were lifted and fixed in place earlier this week. Concrete deck panels were lowered into position using gantry cranes positioned at the end of the centre span. Soon, crews will start pouring concrete to cast those panels in place.
Over the coming months, crews will place expansion joints between bridge segments, complete waterproofing and pave the new deck to have it ready for traffic later this year.
Paving is already underway on the Surrey Approach, where the deck was completed in April. The Coquitlam Approach had its final segment placed earlier this week, marking another significant milestone. The deck panels at the bridge's centre are the last to be placed to complete the bridge to its initial eight-lane configuration.
The Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project, the largest transportation infrastructure project in B.C. history, will be complete and open to traffic in phases. The first and largest phase, which includes opening eight lanes on the new bridge, widening the highway and rebuilding three interchanges between 160 Street in Surrey and the Cape Horn Interchange in Coquitlam, is expected to be complete by this December.
In addition to a new 10-lane bridge, the Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project includes 37 kilometres of highway-widening from Vancouver to Langley. The project includes rebuilding seven highway overpasses and nine highway interchanges. The project will also provide for the first bus service across the Port Mann Bridge in over 20 years and expanded transportation options in the region including carpooling and cycling.
Work will continue through 2013, including construction of the final two bridge lanes. Decommissioning of the old bridge will take place in 2014.
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