The province is on track to launch the Alex Fraser’s new counter-flow system by the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Current work is focused on testing the electrical components and intelligent transportation signs needed for the reversible counter-flow operation.
While the George Massey Tunnel also utilizes counter-flow lanes, these are controlled by moveable gates.
The Alex Fraser system will utilize a moveable, zipper-like barrier system, controlled by a truck, during peak traffic hours. The system underwent test runs earlier this year and the ministry expected it would be in place in the fall.
Dress rehearsal - "Road Zipper" style. Before the #AlexFraserBridge moveable barrier system is put in place, along with an additional 7th lane, we're ensuring operators are well trained. #DeltaBC #RichmondBC pic.twitter.com/vtwjmHVzNw
— BC Transportation (@TranBC) September 11, 2019
A seventh lane on the bridge was also opened in September.
Once the moveable barrier is rolled out, the bridge will have four lanes northbound and three southbound during the morning rush hour, which would then switch for afternoon peak times.
The province estimated it would save commuters 12 to 16 minutes during the evening and six minutes during the morning rush hour.
The counter-flow lane is part of a $70-million upgrade to the Alex Fraser, first announced in 2017.